Stockton Teachers Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike
After polls opened up Tuesday afternoon, members of the Stockton Teachers Association overwhelmingly — by a 97.5% margin — voted to call a strike when deemed necessary.
Hundreds voted at the Central United Methodist Church in Stockton. Prior to the vote being tallied, the STA said they have been working without a contract for more than 32 months. The Stockton Unified School District referred us to their website where they have been posting updates on the ongoing negotiations. More than 88% of the union voted.
The school district claimed they’ve modernized and built new campuses and improved graduation rates. The STA argued, they’ve been asking the school district to reduce classroom sizes and to make students and teachers top priorities.
“I really would rather we settle things and get an atmosphere of trust and respect back. The district also currently has over 60 vacancies they can’t find teachers to take these jobs,” John Steiner, President of STA explained.
“Our teachers have been trying for 32 frustrating months to get Asst. Supt. Wells and the district to put Prop. 30 funds into the classroom and to bargain in good faith,” said Steiner. “This 97.5% vote is an expression of the confidence and the pride our teachers have, not only in their bargaining team, but in their profession, and the work that they do.”
Below is a statement from the SUSD:
“The District and the Stockton Teachers Association are at the fact finding stage of negotiations and I am hopeful the upcoming hearing will result in an agreement. Our fact finding hearing has been scheduled for Monday, March 16, 2015.
Meanwhile the parties are operating under a current agreement that does not expire until August 30, 2016. Because we are in the middle of a contract and because there are rules surrounding fact finding, a strike and even the union’s threat to strike are illegal at this time.
Our District has bargained in good faith and has a double-digit offer on the table, right along with the most generous health benefits in the area. Our current offer makes our teachers, at the beginning, middle and top levels, the top paid in San Joaquin County.
I am hopeful that next week’s hearing, which includes mediation, will result in a resolution for our district. Our students do not deserve a strike.
The District has an excellent emergency response system in place and we are using that to prepare the schools in the event a strike does occur.”
“Our teachers would rather be in the classroom than out of the street carrying signs,” Steiner said. “But, the vote shows we will do what we have to make the classroom the top priority in Stockton.”