UPDATE: Strike averted. Teachers and District settle for 10.5%. More later today.
CONCORD, CA (Mar. 18, 2022) — About 600 teachers picketed in front of Mt. Diablo Unified School District’s administrative offices on Carlotta Drive in Concord Friday afternoon to draw attention to the impasse between their union and the school board over stalled contract negotiations.
Members of the Mt. Diablo Education Association (MDEA), who work at schools in seven central Contra Costa cities including Concord, Pleasant Hill, Clayton and part of Walnut Creek, say they could strike as early as March 28, depending on the report of a three-person fact-finding team investigating the district’s ability to meet the teachers’ salary demands.
MDEA is asking for a 12.5 percent raise on the salary schedule over three years for its teachers, who have not had a salary schedule raise since 2017. The district is offering 7 percent on the salary schedule and a one-time payment of 3 percent.
Unable to reach an agreement over the past year, a state-appointed auditor facilitated three days of mediation that ended Feb. 11 with no agreement. The impasse led to the fact-finding, which will result in a nonbinding report and an option for an agreement or strike within 48 hours of the completion and release of the report.
“We don’t want to strike, but we will if that is what it takes to ensure that our students get the best education possible,” MDEA President Anita Johnson said earlier in the week. “Educators would much rather focus on teaching their students than prepare for a strike.”
The district has said that its negotiators increased the initial total salary offer of nearly $29 million to just over $56 million, their current offer, and that the teachers’ request of 12.5 percent would amount to more than $80 million.
“Since other bargaining units have ‘me too’ clauses in their contracts that provide them with the same salary increases negotiated by MDEA, the District considers these total costs in its negotiations with the teachers’ union. The total cost of providing 12.5% in raises to all employees in the District over three years would be nearly $82 million,”
Representatives for the teachers maintain the district can afford their proposal.
Teachers in the district last went on strike in 1977. In a special meeting March 15, the district approved a resolution preparing for a strike, including offering substitute teachers $500 pay to work a day, a little more than double the regular substitute pay.