Hundreds of teachers, parents and community members showed up at an evening rally to support Union School District teachers. “It was awesome! I wish the school board and district managers would show the same support for teachers,” said Union District Education Association (UDEA) President Kathy Hudson. “So far they are unwilling to prioritize our kids and prevent the loss of Union teachers to neighboring districts.”
“You can’t put students first when you continually put teachers last,” she added. “UDEA teachers are being asked to do more and more. While district revenues have increased year after year, our salaries have decreased in the percentage of the district’s total budget.”
UDEA filed for impasse over professional pay to retain and recruit teachers, prep time, class sizes and other resources students need to succeed. USD is a K-8 district located in San Jose and 316 teachers educate nearly 5,800 students. Union teachers and the community have grown frustrated with USD management and the school board for their inability to make teachers a priority. “We’ve done our homework. This district can afford our proposal,” Hudson said.
UDEA teachers also filed an filed an Unfair Practice Charge (UPC) against contending district managers are not bargaining in good faith. “Good faith means we want to come to an agreement,” said Hudson. “District management has gone through the motions of negotiating and are not showing any real intent to reach agreement. This ongoing choice not to bargain in good faith hurts the kids in our classrooms. Each day our teacher negotiations come prepared to talk about issues that impact students, they’ve done their homework. But district managers come unprepared, bringing “s’posals” or they rearrange the same offer. Often they are tardy in arriving at the negotiations.”
“By failing to support teachers, the school board and district management are failing to support our students,” she added. All of the USD elementary sites are designated as Gold Ribbon Schools, yet elementary teachers do not have any prep time to prepare lessons for children. All the preparation they do is on their own individual time.