Teachers Union: School District is Holding Tentative Labor Agreement “Hostage”

Union president suggests foot-dragging by School Board, calls for a more positive relationship and the end to “perceived betrayal”

Published : Friday, May 24, 2019 | 5:45 AM

United Teachers of Pasadena President Alvin Nash at left, Pasadena Board of Education President Larry Torres at right

The Pasadena Board of Education is holding a tentative agreement with its teachers “hostage,” the teachers union president said Thursday.

United Teachers of Pasadena President Alvin Nash said the Board is dragging its feet to ratify the previously-reached tentative agreement by a required May 31 deadline, which could jeopardize certain teacher benefits.

The ratification was not on Thursday night’s Board Meeting agenda.

“It was our expectation that these tentative agreements would be placed on the agenda for approval by the PUSD Board of Education no later than today,” Nash said Thursday night.

At risk are newly-agreed upon additional dental benefits for Pasadena Unified teachers. In order for those benefits to become effective in time next September, the Board must ratify the tentative labor agreement no later than May 31.

Nash then told the Board the ratification of the tentative agreement should be placed on the agenda of a special School Board meeting on May 30.

“Otherwise the District reached a tentative agreement but is holding it ‘hostage,’ making the District legally vulnerable,” Nash said. “During the past nine years, the District and School Board have not delayed ratifying tentative agreements. Why delay this tentative agreement now?”

The impasse on general labor negotiations between the union and the District loomed large over the Board meeting.

Last week PUSD and UTP agreed to file a joint petition to the Public Employment Relations Board requesting the official determination of impasse and the appointment of a mediator.

Nash said in the wake of the impasse the District and the union had agreed to issue a joint statement.

But instead, “Superintendent Brian McDonald sent out a letter promoting the District’s position to the UTP membership and the press on May 17,” he said.

“Labor-management relations are based upon trust and good faith. In order to improve an already strained relationship, we must eliminate all elements of perceived betrayal. We must intentionally foster a more positive relationship to move this District forward.”

Pasadena Now has obtained information the District now faces a $5 million-plus budget shortfall because of reduced State revenue due to falling enrollment.

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