Teachers still holding out on furloughs, salary concessions

By From page A1 | October 07, 2012

The Davis school district moved a step closer to finalizing an agreement on work reductions and salary concessions with its classified employees last week, but appears to be making little progress with its teachers.

The school district is seeking contingency language with its two bargaining units allowing furlough days and commensurate pay cuts if voters reject Proposition 13 on Nov. 6. Failure of the temporary tax measure would mean the loss of $3.7 million in funding this year.

Jim Herrington, president of the California School Employees Association local — representing secretaries, custodial and maintenance workers, food and nutrition staff, and related positions — reported at Thursday’s board meeting that CSEA members had ratified a tentative agreement reached earlier in negotiations. Herrington said members the agreement was ratified by a margin of “nine-to-one or ten-to-one” in a vote that included a fairly high turnout.

However, Frank Thomsen, president of the Davis Teachers Association, expressed dismay during his comments to the school board that the district once again has declared impasse in its negotiations with the teachers. “This, despite the fact that there is another negotiation session scheduled for October 23,” he said.

“When it comes to protecting the personal and corporate interest of our members, DTA remains committed to the negotiations process,” Thomsen said. “We view it not only as a venue for representing our members’ interests — their livelihoods, compensation, working conditions and the like — but also as a format to address the problems that afflict us in a way that upholds the value and the values of our teachers, counselors, therapists, nurses, psychologists and others specialists who work so closely with and for our children.”

Thomsen, who likes to include a bit of social and historical perspective in his remarks, went on to quote economist Milton Friedman and writer/lecturer Dale Carnegie, and then concluded, “Impasse or no impasse, we look forward to the next negotiation session.”

At a board meeting in September, Thomsen said the DTA had offered to agree to five furlough days in the event that Prop. 30 fails. At an even earlier school board meeting, Superintendent Winfred Roberson called on the DTA to consider up to 10 furlough days.

On Friday, Roberson sent a letter to all district employees saying “since my last communication, the district has continued to negotiate with the DTA. However, we have been unable to reach agreement on the number of furlough days that would be taken if Prop. 30 fails. As a result, we will be continuing through the impasse process and pursuing the aid of a third-party mediator to reach agreement.

“Hopefully, Prop. 30 will pass and contingency language and concessions will be unnecessary. However, if Prop. 30 fails and we have not reached an agreement, the situation could be dire for the Davis school district and DTA members.”

Roberson noted that district administrators will take up to 10 furlough days if Prop. 30 fails.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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