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Teachers Union Takes Legal Action Over Sac City Unified's 'Refusal' To Address Make-Up Days Related To Strike

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) on Tuesday announced that it has taken legal action against Sacramento City Unified (SCUSD) over the district's failure to bargain over make-up days related to the eight-day strike that happened earlier this spring.

The teachers union said it has agreed to the district's framework to extend the school year through June 24 to make up the lost days, but the district has "rejected SCTA's multiple proposals to ensure that schools are appropriately staffed during those extended days."

SCTA filed a charge Tuesday with the California Public Employment Relations Board alleging SCUSD "bargained unlawfully by adding new, regressive proposals late in the process with the purpose of frustrating the bargaining process; in refusing to provide information related to the negotiations; and by throwing up fictitious obstacles to negotiation; and refusing to clarify what those obstacles are and/or how they could be addressed."

Additionally, SCTA said the district has declined a suggested survey of parents to get a better idea of how many students will be in attendance during the make-up days.

Late Tuesday evening, the district issued a response denying the union's allegations and saying the filing "is particularly disappointing given that SCTA previously dismissed several pending grievances and unfair practice charges as part of the agreements reached to end the strike."

As the district faces $47 million in penalties over the missed days — instructional days and minutes required by the state — SCTA President David Fisher said: "the clock is ticking."

"The district will lose millions of dollars in funds that could be used in Sac City's classrooms unless they act soon," said Fisher, who is also a second-grade teacher within the district. "The school board's failure to add back instructional days and avoid significant penalties is a clear breach of the board's fiduciary duty."

The teachers union said it raised the need to address make-up days on April 3, when they negotiated with SCUSD to settle and end the eight-day strike. Fisher said SCUSD has been "slow-walking" discussions related to the make-up days.

"We have given the district multiple proposals that have addressed all of their concerns, and instead of taking 'yes' for an answer, the school board keeps moving the goal posts," he said. "This is the same unlawful and unnecessary conduct that forced the strike earlier this year."

However, SCUSD said it did engage "in good faith efforts" to negotiate and come to an agreement on how to make up the lost instructional time.

"We remain concerned about the ability to provide safe and productive learning environments at all school sites if days are added to the current academic calendar," the district said.

Additionally, SCUSD said it has passed five proposals to the teachers union with each one offering more concessions than the last. The district said initial proposals contained provisions requiring staff to show up for work on make-up days unless leave was pre-approved. Follow-up proposals included the following:

  • More employee flexibility so that no more than 20% of a campus' certified staff would be granted leave of absences during the make-up period
  • Two subsequent proposals upped that percentage to 25 and then 30.
  • Modified language to address the teachers union's concerns over liability for tax and retirement consequences

SCUSD also said it has rejected the union's proposal to pay employees who participated in the strike for the days they did not work.

The district said it remains committed to reaching an agreement to recover the lost time for students.

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