Tentative agreement reached to end Capistrano teachers strike

Capistrano Unified teachers' union president Vicki Soderberg speaks at a pro-teachers rally on Monday, April 26, 2010.
Capistrano Unified teachers' union president Vicki Soderberg speaks at a pro-teachers rally on Monday, April 26, 2010.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Listen to story

Download this story 1.0MB

Students and teachers in the Capistrano Unified School Teacher are back in the classrooms this morning. The Capistrano Unified School District announced late last night that it has reached a tentative agreement with teachers, who’ve been on strike since last Thursday over pay and benefit cuts. (Audio: KPCC’s Shirley Jahad talks to Anna Bryson, president of the Capistrano Unified School District Board, about the tentative agreement.)

Updated 9:54 a.m. | Permalink

Agreement reached between Capistrano Unified teachers and administrators

The teachers’ strike at the 52,000-student Capistrano Unified School District ended today. Teachers are back in the classroom after a three-day strike over a 10 percent, permanent salary cut imposed by the board of education.

The teachers union isn’t releasing the tentative agreement until members look at it. A spokesman says the three-year deal makes the 10 percent salary cut temporary if the school district receives additional funds from the state or federal government. The deal also lets stand four unpaid days off this school year and five the next if those funds don’t come through.

Capistrano Unified teachers will have to start paying health care benefit increases next fall instead of this year, as the board of education wished. Teachers union members are expected to vote on the agreement in a couple of weeks.

Union leaders said the agreement is a victory because the budget cuts were agreed to at the negotiating table after nearly a year during which the board of education, they said, bargained in bad faith. The union said it will not ask for the withdrawal of a recall against several board of education members that had voted to approve the teacher salary cuts.

Updated 8:32 a.m. | Permalink


(Audio: KPCC's Shirley Jahad talks to Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, who's been covering the story. He brings us the latest on the tentative agreement.)

KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has taken a look at some of the details of the tentative agreement. Teachers' salaries will be cut by 10 percent.

That cut will be lifted if the district gets money from other sources, such as student enrollment increases leading to more money from the state. Teachers will have to pick up health care costs, but not in this school year.

The teachers didn't get what they wanted, as the paycut was not made temporary as the teachers union had fought for. A teachers union representative said that they feel that the most important part of this deal is that the board sat down with the union and showed them respect. However, divisions between the two groups continue, as a recall effort is still underway to remove the majority of the board that put in place this paycut.

Updated 6:58 a.m. | Permalink

A tentative agreement was reached to end the Capistrano Unified School District teachers strike, restoring salaries and furlough days as revenues increase, a union official said today.

The three-year agreement, with bargaining reopened in the 2011-2012 school year, also calls for health benefit rates based on the district's 2010 level of contributions, instead of 2009 levels, and contract language improving working conditions regarding surplus transfer language and improvement in leaves, according to Bill Guy of the California Teachers Association.

"We are pleased to announce that the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees has entered into a tentative agreement with the Capistrano Unified Education Association that completes the labor negotiations process through June 2012," Julie Hatchel, the district's executive director of administrative services, said just before midnight Monday.

"We look forward to resuming normal school operations on Tuesday with our students and teachers."

The union had sought a commitment from the district trustees that a 10.1 percent pay cut imposed by the board would be temporary. The school board imposed the pay cut to help balance the district's budget.

District officials had repeatedly said they cannot afford to rescind the pay cut because of declining state funding and poor previous management.

The pay cuts are projected to save the district about $19.9 million, but the district still needs to close a $34 million budget gap.

The union also wanted the district to restore salaries, unpaid workdays and other benefits if "unforeseen funds" are received.

About 90 percent of the district's 2,200 teachers went on strike Thursday, the first by educators in Orange County in a decade. Teachers in the Capistrano school district last went on strike in 1974.

Members of the union's Executive Committee will meet this afternoon to learn the tentative agreement's details and vote on recommending it to the union's Rep Council that will vote Wednesday on sending it to the general membership for a possible ratification vote, Guy said.

Union members will have the opportunity to participate in informational meetings at times to be determined before a ratification vote, Guy said.

"It is the courage and determination of CUEA members on the picket lines and the thousands of supportive district parents and community members that resulted in the tentative contract agreement with the CUSD Board of Education," union President Vicki Soderberg said.

"The CUEA bargaining team and leadership cannot find words adequate to express their appreciation for CUEA members' solidarity and support during this difficult time. It is without question that this victory could not have been achieved absent our unity and collective action. When we go back into the classroom together, we can hold our heads high."