First Back to School Teacher Strike Planned in California

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Banning teacher union officials are planning a strike for the first day back to school.  Welcome back, students and parents!   Ryan Hagen has the story in the Press-Enterprise online.

It would be the first teachers’ strike in Riverside County since 1979, when Moreno Valley Unified School District teachers went on strike for 13 days over budget cuts after the passage of Proposition 13, according to Ed Sibby, a Temecula-based communications consultant for the California Teachers Association. In Southern California, teachers in the Alpine and San Ysidro school districts in San Diego County went on strike in 2014.

Teachers plan to return to work Monday, Aug. 13, or earlier if district officials agree to negotiate, he said.

“To be clear, this is a conflict that the District and union have been discussing since June of last year, so for the union to wait until the last minute before school begins to declare a strike indicates that they are not interested in finding productive ways to settle disagreements,” Guillen wrote. “It saddens me to think they will hold student learning hostage to make their point.”

The district has 213 teachers and 4,565 students from Cabazon, Whitewater, Poppet Flats, and the Morongo Indian Reservation, as well as the city of Banning, according to the California Department of Education.

“We have been blue in the face in terms of trying to come to an agreement,” Cassadas said by phone. “It’s very disheartening that we have to go through this, especially on the child’s first day.”

Some teachers have said they will come to school Wednesday despite the strike vote, according to Garcia and Cassadas.

Garcia said he would defer to parents on whether they should send their children to school this week.

“We understand this is going to be an inconvenience and hardship for some of them,” he said. “We want what’s best for students.”