Below are a number of Frequently Asked Questions related to possible strike.
Frequently Asked Questions About a Possible SCTA/SEIU Strike
Q. Why is a strike a possibility in the Sacramento City Unified School District?
A. Every day, 3000 students in our district go without even a substitute teacher while another 600 students await to be enrolled in Independent Study. There are approximately 250 certificated vacancies currently, while additional staff have already announced their intention to leave the District.
Despite the largest unrestricted reserve fund in SCUSD history ($123 million) and an additional $320 million the District has received in state and federal COVID funds, the District refuses to bargain in good faith over solutions to the staffing crisis, health and safety protocols and Independent Study.
While the school board has approved a new contract for Superintendent Aguilar that provides a significant increase in his total compensation, the District is demanding a five-year wage freeze, a reduction in the average educator’s take-home pay of $10,000 per year, and significant increases in educator work load without appropriate compensation. As the fact-finder noted in his recommendation (more on that below): “It is counterintuitive to expect proposals to shift healthcare costs to employees, or to freeze wages for several years, would help any employer recruit and retain staff.”
Q. What does the fact-finder recommend?
A. March 17th, a neutral fact-finder jointly agreed to by both the Sacramento City Unified District and the Sacramento City Teachers Association released his recommendation to resolve a long-standing dispute between the parties regarding: : 1) the staffing crisis in SCUSD; 2) health and safety protocols related to COVID, and 3) independent study/continuity of learning for students.
Contrary to the District’s assertions, the fact-finder determined that “the issue of wages and benefits are clearly relevant to recruitment and retention of staff.” He further noted: “It is counterintuitive to expect proposals to shift healthcare costs to employees, or to freeze wages for several years, would help any employer recruit and retain staff.”
Other solutions recommended by the fact-finder include a salary increase for 2021-22 for certificated staff retroactive to July 1, 2021 “consistent with those in the Superintendent’s employment contract” which would be “based on the California CPI.” According to School Services, the consultant management consultant group hired by the District for this fact-finding, the CPI for 2021-22 is 5.78%.
The fact-finder also recommended increased compensation for staff who perform extra work, including working through prep periods, teaching combined classes, accepting additional students on Special Ed educators’ caseloads.
You can view the Fact-Finder’s Report here, including the response from both SCTA and SCUSD.
The Sacramento City Teachers Association has concurred with the report.
The Sacramento City Unified School District has stated its position is “concurrence and dissent,” which means that they agree with the parts that the fact-finder agrees with the District, and dissents to those substantial parts where he does not.
Included in the items that the District dissented with is the creation of Recruitment and Retention Committee.
Notably, the fact-finder accepted the central premise of SCTA’s position (which is set forth here) – that the way to address the staffing crisis in SCUSD which has left thousands of students without a teacher is to improve compensation and working conditions.
Our bargaining team voted unanimously to concur with the fact-finder’s recommendation because it provides a carefully reasoned pathway for the parties to follow to resolve the three issues that divide them: 1) the staffing crisis in SCUSD; 2) health and safety protocols related to COVID, and 3) independent study/continuity of learning for students. The staffing crisis in SCUSD is the most significant issue facing students in the District, with 10,000 students per day without a permanent, credentialed teacher, 3,000 students a day without even a substitute teacher, and 600 students still waiting to receive live instruction this year as they await being enrolled in independent study.
Q. Why don’t we all just call in sick?
A. A sick-out does not have the same legal protections as a strike. By making our protest an official job action, we are letting the broader community know that there are major problems at Sac City and that we are united to address those problems.
Q. Can anyone be disciplined for striking?
A. Absolutely not. It is unlawful for any employee to be disciplined for participating in a legal strike. To date, there are no known examples where any certificated educator has ever been disciplined for participating in a legal strike.
Q. What about probationary, temps, interns and substitute teachers?
A. All employees, regardless of their status, have the legal right to strike and cannot be disciplined or discriminated against in any way.
Q. Is a strike considered a break in service?
A. No, it is not.
Q. Will a strike have any effect on retirement?
A. In all likelihood no. First, there is a possibility to negotiate make-up days with the District. Second, even if a makeup-days are not agreed to, because of the CALSTRS calculation formulas, which bases educators’ pensions on their highest three years of earnings, the loss of days from a strike will have a minimal affect.
Q. Are classified employees represented by SEIU Local 1021 also striking with us?
A. Yes. We have been working very closely with our classified co-workers. SEIU representatives were part of our fact-finding presentation and have been part of our bargaining, just as we have been a part of theirs. Together, representing over 95% of the SCUSD employees, we are united to ensure that our students receive the education they so richly deserve.
Q. How long will we be out on strike?
A. If no agreement is reached beforehand, our strike will commence on Wednesday, March 23, and last until we have reached a settlement that is acceptable to our members.