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JUST IN: LA Unified increases salary offer to UTLA

LA School Report | December 4, 2014

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teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract Negotiations* UPDATED

LA Unified today increased its salary offer to the teachers union, UTLA, offering a one-year deal with a 6 percent increase.

The district said in a press release the money would be distributed through a 2 percent ongoing salary increase retroactive to July 1; a 2 percent lump-sum payment based on 2013-14 earnings; and a 2 percent one-time payment for the 2014-15 school year to be paid at the end of this school year.

The union did not directly respond to the district proposal, which is not far off its original offer of a three-year package that included the lump sum of 2 percent for last year, 2 percent for this year and next and 2.5 percent for the following year, with the last two years contingent on the district budget. The contingency was later dropped.

Both versions were flatly rejected by the union, which moved from a 17.6 salary raise demand over three years to a one-year deal at 10 percent.

The new wrinkle in today’s district proposal is that the combined 6 percent would be paid within a period of a few months, with an agreement to continue negotiating raises for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

As UTLA pointed out on its website, “the District is still only offering a 2% salary increase.”

Alex Caputo-Pearl, the UTLA president, did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The district also asked that union leadership to accept the new offer “immediately, without setting aside non-salary issues to deal with through further negotiations,” said Vivian Ekchian, the District’s chief labor negotiator.

The District said it would pay for the salary increases by redirecting money set aside for health benefits of current employees when they retire, a program with current unfunded liabilities of $11 billion.

Negotiators for the sides also discussed the union’s Public School Accountability proposal, which the district responded to with a multi-year plan aimed at improving educational programs and learning environments; raising student achievement and improving accountability; achieving equity of learning opportunities for all students; and improving communications with parents and community.

“I appreciated the comprehensive discussion we had on the subjects today and look forward to continued discussion on the matters.” Ekchain said.

The UTLA website said the union made a new proposal on school safety and a counterproposal to the District’s last evaluation proposal, while continuing to demand an immediate suspension of the Teacher Growth Development Cycle program.  UTLA also expanded on earlier proposals covering transfers, magnet conversions, and small learning environments.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Dec. 16.

* Adds union response.

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