I went up to the CTA State Council last weekend where CTA representatives from all over California get together to discuss, review, and make decisions on the positions CTA will take on various education issues and legislation.
By Michelle Sanchez, Garfield AR/SDEA Secretary
State Council gives reps a chance to network with educators from other California locals and talk to them about how things are going. During the course of the weekend, fellow B-faster SDEA Board member Shane Parmely and I had the chance to speak with several UTLA members, and we asked them about their union’s push for a 17.6% salary increase starting as soon as this year. When we told them that our Executive Director stated to our Rep. Council that this had caused a division in their union (when we attempted to push our union to try to get our deferred 5% to kick in now), they were shocked by that statement. They laughed and said that the only division it caused was that some members wanted more than the 17.6% raise that their Rep. Council voted for.
On the last day of CTA State Council, I serendipitously sat next to UTLA President Warren Fletcher at lunch and had a casual conversation with him. I asked him about how he handled the members’ push for more now. He told me that his members were originally inspired by the Chicago teachers’ push for higher wages. As we spoke, he emphasized that UTLA’s members should be asking for even more than Chicago! I was pleasantly surprised and reassured to hear that UTLA’s President realizes that now is the time for salary increases. I wish our union’s leadership majority realized the same.
This makes me wonder why SDEA’s Budget Committee (including SDEA Vice President Lindsay Burningham, Kisha Borden, and Dave Erving, all of whom are now running for SDEA Board on a slate together) pat themselves on the back for restoring the fourth furlough day for 0.54% of our pay, when we should be fighting for more now. With new monies pouring into our district, all of our furlough days and our pay restorations should have happened by now. UTLA’s district cancelled all furlough days after Prop 30’s passage, and other local teacher unions up and down our coast are seeing all furlough days restored and pay increases this school year. So why aren’t we?