Is Sacramento the Next Big Fight in #RedForEd Wave?
The #RedForEd Wave has already swept through Los Angeles and Oakland this year, with thousands of brave educators going on strike and leading massive movements to fight for the soul of public schools. Is Sacramento the next big fight of the Educator Uprising?
Frustrated and fed-up by continued deceit, disrespect and outright violation of their contract, Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) voted to authorize a strike over egregious unfair labor practices and unlawful activity by Sacramento City Unified School District’s superintendent and school board. With 70 percent of SCTA members voting, 92 percent approved a strike to stop the district’s unfair practices and unlawful behavior, SCTA leaders announced Friday.
The SCTA bargaining team offered to meet with SCUSD at the end of the month to give the district an opportunity to correct its ongoing unlawful behavior. If SCUSD’s conduct and unfair practices continue, the executive board is authorized to set a strike date, likely in the next month.
“It’s truly unfortunate that teachers may be forced to strike to get Superintendent Jorge Aguilar, Board President Jessie Ryan and other district leaders to obey the law, including things as simple as agreeing to meet with us and honoring agreements they signed 15 months ago,” said Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher. “What kind of example are they setting for the 40,000 students in our district?”
If 2,800 Sacramento City educators do indeed go on strike, it would be the first #RedForEd-era strike in the country over unfair labor practices and a school district reneging on a contractual agreement. SCTA says SCUSD’s continued unlawful activity is giving them no choice but to take direct action. These transgressions include:
- Refusing to honor the collective bargaining agreement approved by both sides in December 2017, which included class-size reduction and increased numbers of school nurses and psychologists, violating the contract;
- Refusing to meet at reasonable times and places with representatives the educators have elected to have represent them, and attempting to dictate who the teachers have represent them at the bargaining table;
- Making unilateral and unlawful changes to the wages and working conditions of teachers without bargaining;
- Failing to send district representatives to the bargaining table who have the authority to negotiate on behalf of the district, rendering bargaining meaningless.
SCTA has also challenged the legality of recent school board actions to lay off 400 educators in light of alleged violations of the Brown Act’s open meeting requirements (detailed here and here). Additionally, SCTA has questioned SCUSD’s gross fiscal mismanagement—the district stands on the brink of state takeover due to insolvency, particularly in the aftermath of a scathing audit by the State of California’s Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team. If all that wasn’t enough, there are also serious unanswered questions about potential conflicts of interest by Superintendent Aguilar and other top district administrators. Recently, the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee directed the state auditor to conduct a forensic audit of SCUSD due to growing concerns of fiscal mismanagement.