Union City teachers preparing to strike amid salary negotiations

Bay Area

UNION CITY (KRON) — The school year might be nearly over, but a group of East Bay teachers are preparing to miss those final days.

The New Haven teachers association is threatening to go on strike next Monday — which would be the first in the district’s history.

A 20 percent raise over the next two years — that’s what the teachers are after, and after talking to the new haven school district, it doesn’t seem likely they’ll get that.

But one thing the district and teachers can agree on right now, is that neither want a strike.

“We really want our teachers to feel valued, we want our teachers in our classrooms, and we do not want a strike on Monday,” said first grade teacher Jessica LaPorte. “I’ve had some of my students ask me, ‘will you be here next week’ and my heart’s breaking, because of course I want to be here.”

LaPorte says Monday’s impending strike is the last thing she and her fellow New Haven teachers want to do.

“We don’t wanna go on a strike, we’re doing everything possible to not go on a strike,” she said.

The teachers association has asked for a 20 percent raise over two years and right now, the school district is offering zero percent.

“Our teachers are incredible, they’re great, they deserve a raise,” said district spokesman John Mattos. “They absolutely deserve a raise. We just don’t have the money to do it.”

Mattos says the district is already cutting $4 million from next year’s budget — citing declining enrollment and a subsequent lack of funding from the government.

“That coupled with the increase in pension cost that california districts are expected to pay is really putting us in a pinch,” he said.

According to the district — New Haven teacher salaries are second highest in all of the East Bay, making an average of $96,000 per year.

The association says many are still struggling to find affordable housing in the area. Plenty of parents are in support of the teachers.

The teachers association and school district are expected to head back to the bargaining table Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.

If an agreement isn’t met — the strike will begin next Monday.

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