Sweetwater Union High School District meeting postponed; teachers picket outside office

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Members of the Sweetwater Education Association rallied outside of the Sweetwater Union High School District office Monday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, it was announced that a Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting scheduled Monday afternoon was postponed until March 25.

Despite the postponement, the teacher's union announced that picketing would go ahead as planned.

The meeting was postponed due to what the district called the "ongoing labor situation" and a surgical procedure scheduled for Wednesday for board President Jim Cartmill, who has an unspecified medical problem.

About 92 percent of the more than 1,400 teachers -- who instruct middle and high school students in Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego South Bay neighborhoods -- authorized a strike, though such action has not been taken.

On Monday, 10News learned teachers can strike provided they give a 24-hour notice.

According to a statement from the Sweetwater Education Association, the district imposed a doubling of health care payments on teachers and has not negotiated in good faith. They plan to picket at 4 p.m. in front of the district's Chula Vista offices.

The district said it informed the SEA about the postponement and "will continue to make efforts to find an immediate resolution that is beneficial to all and ensures continued student achievement and success."

Last week, district officials said they believe any strike while negotiations are underway would be illegal.

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