San Diego Unified teachers threaten strike as contract negotiations stall

Final negotiation scheduled for Thursday
Posted at 12:55 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 16:09:44-04

Teachers in the San Diego Unified School District say they may have to strike if they can't reach an agreement on a new contract with the district.

"It's not something we ever want to do," says Lindsay Burningham with the San Diego Education Association, the union that represents teachers. "But it's something that we will do if the district doesn't show the respect our students and educators deserve."

Teachers first brought up the threat of a strike at this month's school board meeting, where they urged board members to hear their demands.

The two sides have been in negotiations since June when the last contract expired. Since then, teachers in the district have been working without a contract. The final negotiating session between the two is scheduled for Thursday, March 22.

For the new contract, they're asking the district to "LEARN."

Lower Class Sizes
Enrichment Opportunities
Attracting/Retaining Educators
Resources for Students
No Destabilizing Cuts

"The things we're asking for, it's really not to make our jobs easier. It's really to make us be able to actually meet the needs of our students," says Burningham.

They say the main sticking points are salary and resources for Special Education, Counseling and Nursing in schools.

Right now, the SDEA says the district hasn't offered them any raise. They'd like one that matches cost of living increases, between 1.5% and 3%.

The District didn't give specifics of their proposals to 10News. They sent a statement, saying "We are working diligently with our partners at the San Diego Education Association to reach a new contract. We remain confident that together we can achieve an agreement that supports the success of all our students."

If the teachers and district can't come to an agreement, the teachers can declare an impasse. That would send negotiations to a mediator. If that doesn't work, they can vote to strike.

Meanwhile, teachers plan to picket outside of schools for 4 days in mid-April.