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Sweetwater Union High School District teachers union protests for better contract offer

Posted at 6:22 AM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 09:22:34-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — It was an emotional Monday night at the Sweetwater Union High School District meeting, as teachers protested outside district headquarters demanding a fair contract.

The Sweetwater Education Association says it received its first offer for a new contract from the district in late February and the teachers say it's not good enough.

At least 100 teachers from the district protested outside the board room, before and during the meeting.

Sweetwater Education Association President Julie Walker says the first negotiations lasted just two hours.

"We gave our proposal, they gave theirs and they said there was nothing to talk about, that they weren't going to negotiate, discuss or anything," says Walker.

Walker says the district offered a 2 percent "off schedule" bonus, which means it's a one-time bonus, and no salary increases.

"Nobody wants to come work here if you're not going to be paid, a fair wage if you're not making at least similar to the neighboring school districts," says Walker.

Teachers and parents were fired up, speaking during the board's public comment.

"Today, I'm here, what are you going to do to support my daughters' teachers, what is it that you're going to offer them!" shouted one parent.

One teacher said this offer would make the district lose more valuable teachers.

"This district is hemorrhaging talented teachers to better paid and better staff districts that actually provide the support they need to do their jobs," explained the teacher.

The union says the district has gone without a contract for teachers since June of last year, with talks focused on COIVD-19. Now, at the bargaining table, they say they won't settle until the offer is more competitive.

A district spokesperson says that at this time they cannot comment on negotiations. The next bargaining meeting is scheduled for March 18.