Union City teachers to strike Monday

Bay Area

UNION CITY (KRON) — Teachers in the New Haven School District are set to strike and will walk out Monday, after nearly six hours of negotiation with the district Wednesday.

Both sides said they didn’t want this to happen — but 24 hours later and teachers are upstairs in their association office, putting together strike boxes for each school.

This strike will be the first in the district’s history, with nearly 600 teachers planning to walk the picket line come Monday morning.

“We’ve been asking for 20 percent because we have not received our COLA raises, which is something we’re supposed to be getting, 3 percent and we haven’t gotten that in three years,” said second grade teacher Liliana Roberto.

Roberto picked up the picket line box designated for her school Wednesday. She and nearly 600 fellow new haven school teachers are ready to strike next Monday.

“We’ve had our salary frozen for the last three years, we’ve also taken furlough days and we’ve lost 13 percent of our salary just because we have been patient with the district when they say they don’t have the money,” she said.

The teachers association originally asked for a 20 percent raise over two years. However, during nearly six hours of bargaining Wednesday, they brought it down to 10 percent.

The school district originally offered zero, but Wednesday said their final offer would be a 3 percent bonus, and a 1 percent raise for the next school year. in a statement the district called its offer a significant move from the original, citing a lack of funding from the government due to low enrollment numbers.

The teachers association says, it’s not nearly enough.

“We were hopeful at the fact finding session, that there was a recommendation that there was some funds available so that we could get to a place where we could start a conversation,” said Joe Ku’Angeles, president of the New Haven Teachers Association. “It did not go that way.”

He says going on strike is now their only option.

“What we’re asking for is what we think is the best direction for public education for schools, teacher retention and more importantly for the classroom environment,” Ku’Angeles said.

Technically new haven teachers are some of the highest paid in Alameda County — but teachers say those numbers don’t reflect the thousands they pay out of pocket each month for health benefits.

They say once you factor that in, they are among the lowest paid in the county.

The strike will begin on Monday, May 20.

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