Photo: Michael Macor / The Chronicle 2012
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Teachers in Hayward and Union City met administrators at the bargaining table on Memorial Day, hoping to reach an agreement to end a weeklong strike over higher wages, the New Haven Teachers Association said Monday.
“We’re having a two-sided conversation now, which is awesome,” said Kim DeBono, a union representative, speaking at a briefing outside the Alameda County Office of Education, where the talks were held.
Teachers said they were hopeful the camps would settle the dispute Monday, with talks likely to extend late into the night. If an agreement is reached, teachers could return to the classrooms on Tuesday or take the day off to review the tentative deal.
“There has been no agreement reached yet, but we remain hopeful,” Paul Stickland, another union representative, told a crowd in Hayward.
Teachers in the New Haven Unified School District, which serves about 11,300 students across the two East Bay cities, can’t afford to live in the area, the teachers union said. They argue that their wages do not stretch far enough to cover the rising cost of living in the region.
Their teachers make an average salary of $96,554 for the school year, which the district said is the highest rate in Alameda County. It spends an additional $1,581 per teacher annually to offset the costs of health care, though employees pay their premiums out of pocket. On the county’s low end, Oakland teachers earn about $63,000 for the school year.
The group’s president, Joe Ku’e Angeles, faulted the district in a statement for overpaying administrators and hiring more managers over the past six years, citing the district’s financials. “Parents come to Union City, to our New Haven schools because of great teachers,” he said, “not because of overpaid-managers.”
0% won’t pay the rent! .5% wont pay the rent! 1% wont pay the rent! 3% off schedule wont pay the rent! Join us at ACOE to show your support for New Haven Teachers! ✊ #WeAreNHTA #ForOurStudents #WeAreCTA pic.twitter.com/YLrhuFoUyB
— New Haven Teachers Association (@WeAreNHTA) May 26, 2019
At the start of negotiations on Monday, the school district was offering a one-time 3% raise for the current school year and a 1% ongoing raise beginning in the fall. The teachers union wanted a 10% raise over two years.
“Management would like nothing more than to bring this strike to an end,” said a May 21 statement on the New Haven Unified School District’s website. Administrators did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
The district’s 12 schools stayed open during last week’s strike. Union members include 585 teachers, school counselors, psychologists, nurses and speech therapists.
A GoFundMe campaign, created by members of the New Haven Teachers Association to assist members who are facing financial hardship by losing their wages to strike, raised $6,200 as of Monday afternoon. Michael Gardner, union treasurer, said the group has earmarked a similar amount from the general fund to support teachers in need.
“Teachers deserve to earn a living wage,” donor Karen Rosa wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“As a teacher in the East Bay, I appreciate your standing up and accepting nothing less (than) a fair contract,” Jim Vaughan wrote.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/New-Haven-teacher-strike-still-not-settled-after-13899430.php.