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MDUSD and teachers’ union at impasse

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, March 9th, 2012 at 7:36 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school district has sent out the following news update regarding its declaration of impasse with the Mt. Diablo Education Association teachers’ union:

“Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First



March 9, 2012


After twelve (12) bargaining sessions which took place over seven (7) months and 64.5 hours, we are disappointed to report that MDEA and the District are at impasse. It is unfortunate, especially in light of the hard work and collaborative spirit of both teams.

As you may know, impasse occurs when negotiations are so hopelessly deadlocked that future bargaining would be pointless without the assistance of an independent mediator. The District requested and MDEA agreed to join us in filing a Joint Request of Impasse Determination. The District anticipates filing the Request for Impasse Determination on March 7. The duration of the mediation process depends on the mediator’s schedule.

There are several language articles outstanding. However, the chief differences are the financial articles on Work Year and Salary. The District would like to be in a position to offer all employees ongoing raises, but the fiscal realities of education funding make that impossible. Therefore, what we offered was a good-faith compromise that would allow all employees, even those with closed contracts, to receive up to three percent in one-time payments spread over two (2) years in return for possible furlough days in 2012/13 if the state budget deficit worsens.

The main difference between the financial offers is that the teachers proposed a three percent (3%) one-time payment 2011/12 regardless of any negative changes in next year’s state budget. The District offered a three percent (3%) one-time off-schedule payment over two (2) years. Specifically, 1.64% in the current year (which fully restores the three (3) furlough days teachers took in 2010/11) and 1.36% in 2012/13 so long as there are no State budget cuts that negatively affect the District’s budget.

While the difference in positions may look minor, it is not. In the best case scenario, the two proposals are within $43,000 of each other. However, the District must plan for the possibility that its revenues decrease even further. The District’s proposal includes a formula to reduce the work year only if state funding is reduced. MDEA’s proposal includes no reduction in the work year even if state funding is reduced. The difference between the two proposals is $13,134,000 by June 2013 under the Governor’s worst case scenario in the January budget.

Conclusion: While we regret being at impasse, the District remains committed to maintaining the collaborative working relationship with MDEA that continues to exist between the bargaining teams. We are also committed to working in good faith with MDEA and the mediator in hope of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement as quickly as possible.

Each party’s Last, Best & Final Offer relative to salary is included on the back of this sheet.

District’s Last, Best & Final Offer of March 1, 2012:

Term: 2 years: July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2013

Work Year:

· See adopted calendar for 2012/13

· No furlough days for 2011/12

· Strictly as a precautionary measure in the event of mid-year State budget cuts, the District would designate certain dates in the 2012/13 school year as “Make No Plan Days” which could then be used as furlough days, but only if mid-year cuts are required


· Step increases for remaining years of contract

· 2011/12: 1.64% one-time off-schedule increase (equal to restoration of 3 furlough days taken in 2010/11) (If agreement had been reached with the teachers, the Board would have extended the potential restoration to all employees in return for the formula listed below.)

· 2012/13: 1.36% one-time off-schedule increase if funded base revenue limit (“BRL”) is equal to or greater than 2011/12 funded BRL. (Again, all employee groups would take a proportionate number of furlough days relative to teachers.)

· If funded BRL decreases below $5,207.18, then one (1) furlough day for each $35 decrease. Under the Governor’s current proposal, the BRL will not reduce if his tax proposal passes; therefore, if the tax passes, furlough days will not be necessary. Reductions in transportation funding will be treated the same as a cut to funded BRL for purposes of calculating furlough days

· Increase from $20 to $25 per hour in certificated hourly rate

· Increase from $25 to $31 per hour in Summer School Pay

· Increase from $25 to $31 per hour for Standards-Based Intervention Pay

MDEA’s Last, Best & Final Official Offer of Salary March 1, 2012:

Term: 1 year: July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012

Work Year: No mandatory meetings scheduled on 3rd pre-service day


· Three percent (3%) one-time off-schedule increase for unit members. Those who work less than 1 FTE shall receive a proportional increase relative to their salary

· Increase from $20 to $26 per hour in certificated hourly rate

· Increase from $25 to $33 per hour in Summer School Pay

· Increase from $25 to $33 per hour for Standards-Based Intervention Pay

Presented by the Mt. Diablo Unified Bargaining Team”

Although the News Update is dated March 9, it says the district expected to submit its Request for Impasse Determination on March 7.

I spoke to Mike Langley, president of MDEA tonight. He said he hadn’t seen the News Update.

However, he said the union was asking for a one-year contract, instead of a two-year contract. The district, however, insisted on a two-year contract that included the potential for the maximum number of furlough days next year, he said.

To show their displeasure with the impasse, Langley said a couple hundred teachers are planning to gather at 6 p.m. Monday outside the district office, wearing colorful t-shirts.

The turnout is to show support for the MDEA bargaining team, Langley said.

“They want a one-year contract,” he said. “They don’t want a two-year contract with unlimited furlough days.”

Langley said there were several other areas of the contract that teachers wanted to continue to discuss, such as the amount of time teachers are expected to stay after school for meetings. But, he said the district did not want to continue those discussions, when agreement couldn’t be reached on the salary items.

“It’s much simpler for them to take a stand when they’re selective about what they’re talking about,” he said. “They want to have unlimited free hours, basically, of teachers’ time after our work day. We’re trying to set a reasonable limit to how many hours we donate beyond our paid workday. Most teachers put in a good number of hours on their own to get things done.”

Langley said the union did not agree to the language the district initially proposed in its Request for Impasse Determination because its bargaining team did not think it accurately reflected the negotiations. Langley was unsure whether the district agreed to the bargaining team’s changes.

“I have no idea what they’ve done,” he said. “I doubt they did it on March 7, unless they just went ahead and ignored us and sent it in.”

If no agreement could be reached on a joint Request for Determination of Impasse, each side could submit its own, Langley said.

What kind of agreement would you support?

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