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UTLA raises may be on the horizon but not negotiations

Vanessa Romo | April 9, 2014

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Vivian Ekchian, LA Unifie'd chief labor negotiator

Vivian Ekchian, LA Unifie’d chief labor negotiator

Within LA Unified’s proposed budget for 2014-2015, Superintendent John Deasy includes a line item for teacher raises.

However, in the absence of a contract for the last three years between the district and the teachers union, United Teachers of Los Angeles, labor talks remain at a complete standstill, raising questions about just how much remains “TBD.”

“Neither UTLA nor the District has initiated negotiations for any re-opener or successor agreements at this time,” Vivian Ekchian, chief labor negotiator for LA Unified, told LA School Report.  

Teachers are working on a temporary contract. UTLA’s last agreement with the district ended in 2011, and Ekchian says their contract is extended on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s difficult to estimate a timeline with an ending date, but it certainly will be very sensitive to the needs of our employees,” Ekchian said.

UTLA is seeking a 17.6 percent salary increase over an unspecified amount of time, though the average contract lasts three years.

“It’s been more than a year since California voters approved Proposition 30, the tax increase that is bringing millions of new dollars into the District,” UTLA said in a statement shortly after voting for the salary boost.

The state’s new school Local Control Funding Formula is also generating hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue over the next seven years.

Union members last received a cost of living increase in 2007. They also agreed to 16 furlough days throughout the recession, with “each day equaling about half a percent of pay,” according to UTLA President Warren Fletcher.

Deasy, yesterday, thanked all district employees for their “sacrifices” during the budget crisis.

After walking the school board through his budget, he added, “Many employees have not had raises in six to seven years and it’s important to address that.”

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