Pasadena School Board to Broach New Labor Negotiations

UTP and PUSD Board remain at odds over closing out negotiations for 2017-2018, before moving on to future contracts; withdrawn early retirement plan festers

Published : Thursday, March 29, 2018 | 5:54 AM

PUSD UTPAmid continuing calls by some teachers for United Teachers of Pasadena to reconsider accepting an early retirement proposal by the Pasadena Unified School District withdrawn by the District after four rounds of negotiations stalled out, the School Board will begin discussing new labor negotiations for the 2018-2021 teachers’ contract on Thursday.

Subjects to be discussed in the labor negotiations include hours, on-site work days for all unit members, school calendars, professional development activities, evaluations, leaves, class size, staffing ratios, librarians and salary schedules, along with health and welfare benefits, according to the Board agenda.

The actual negotiations are scheduled to begin April 6.

Board Member Scott Phelps said he is concerned that the district is “sunshining” [revealing its negotiating points] for 2018-1019 even before the UTP has closed out final negotiations for 2017 and 2018.

Union President Alvin Nash said that the UTP will also release and “sunshine” its initial proposals for the 2018-2019 Bargaining Cycle “after the 2017-2018 Bargaining Cycle has concluded and after UTP surveys its membership.”

Nash pointed out that that “Salary and Salary Schedule Rules and Regulations (Article XIV) remains open and is not settled for 2017-2018.”

Phelps said that the Union is “refusing to close out 2017, and 2018.”

“They feel they’re entitled to 3% retroactive to July 1st of last year, and our response is we’ve been in a fiscal crisis and that we don’t have any money,” Phelps said.

Mindful of the District’s current budget woes, Pasadena Unified Board Member Kimberley Kenne said, “Certainly our fiscal situation is on our minds as we go into bargaining.”

Asked about the withdrawal by Pasadena Unified of its early retirement offer, Kenne said “the District made their last best and final offer and so the ball is in UTP’s court if they want to come back to consider that offer. By doing the last, best and final — I think the district was signaling that there wouldn’t be any further movement in terms of the details of the offer.”

Kenne added, “I hope that people appreciate that the district did change from their initial terms to match things that UTP asked for. So our initial offer had already changed two or three times to adopt to things that UTP asked for in the negotiations.”

The early retirement plan negotiations which led to District’s withdrawal generated reaction from a number of teachers and parents in the school district, some of whom are both.

As one email from a teacher/parent who wished to remain anonymous stated, “I have to say I am disappointed in both the UTP and PUSD leadership who continue to act against the interests of the students with respect to the PARS Early Retirement/Resignation Incentive Plan.”

“For (UTP President) Alvin Nash to propose a raise at this time is evidence that he is woefully out of touch with reality,” the letter continued. “The point of the early retirement is to save the jobs of teachers with little or no tenure whose jobs would otherwise be eliminated. Having gone through this same scenario when my children were in elementary school, what I witnessed was that the most promising, youngest teachers were the ones who suffered the most.”

Nash said Wednesday night that it was “the District, not UTP, [which] withdrew its offer regarding the Supplementary Retirement/Resignation Plan (SRRP) for 2017-2018. UTP continues to be willing to bargain the SRRP. It is the District’s decision whether or not to resume bargaining the SRRP.”

In the UTP’s “Bargaining Update” sent to its membership on February 16, Nash said, “It is important to note that in the 2014-2015 school year, the District and DTP agreed to a retirement plan that did not end up generating any cost savings, since the District offered it to all employee groups and reinstated positions instead of eliminating them.

“The District still has two more payments of $784,894.98 (due on July 10, 2018, and on July 10, 2019) to pay for that plan,” the update continued. “These payments are coming from the General Fund, which could have been better used to provide pay raises instead. UTP will not agree on another plan that may negatively impact its members that will continue to work for PUSD.

“We understand the situation,” said the update, “but it does not change the reality that our salaries have not kept pace with the cost of living and are among the lowest in Los Angeles County. The District must commit to right-sizing, which means that layoffs are necessary and unavoidable regardless of the District’s fiscal mismanagement, as Pasadena continues with over a decade of declining enrollment.”

blog comments powered by Disqus