FRESNO, CA (KMJ) – Fresno Unified reaffirms their commitment to keeping schools open — should a teacher strike occur.
An overwhelming majority of the Fresno Teachers Association members voted Tuesday night to approve a strike.
Wednesday morning, Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson tweeted a message, saying the district is committed to keeping schools open should a teacher strike occur.
“Recently, the Fresno Teachers Association voted to strike, potentially impacting students, staff and the entire Fresno Unified community. A vote to strike does not mean a strike is eminent. Fresno Unified and the FTA are still engaged in the bargaining process and the district will continue to bargain in good faith. If despite those efforts a teacher strike eventually occurs, know that Fresno Unified Schools will remain open everyday, focused on providing a safe place for learning.” – Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson.
Fresno Unified had proposed up to $500 per day for substitute teachers if there’s a strike.
The union and the district have been in contract talks for more than a year, now, after a fact finding report is prepared by the FTA, teachers could hit the picket line as early as mid-November.
On Thursday, October 5th, the Fresno Unified District meets with FASTA, the substitute teachers association, to discuss terms for substitutes should teachers strike. On Friday, October 6th, Fresno Unified meets again with FTA to continue negotiations.
Click below to listen to the report by KMJ’s Liz Kern:
Fresno Unified posted the following FAQ’s on their website: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding a Potential Teacher Strike
1) Q. Will schools be closed in the event of a strike?
A. No. Fresno Unified will keep schools open, safe and functional in the event of a work stoppage.
2) Q. While FTA votes to strike on October 3, when would a strike likely occur?
A. Unknown. A strike would occur after the completion of fact-finding negotiations. Dates for fact-finding have yet to be determined. After fact-finding, if FTA decides to strike, they are required to give reasonable notice to the District as to the date of their strike. Employees, parents and the community will then be notified.
3) Q. How can the District afford to pay substitutes $500 a day during a strike?
A. A teacher’s average salary per day is over $400. On days that teachers strike, they are not paid and cannot take paid leave. Contributions to their STRS retirement is reduced for each day they strike. This offsets the District’s special rate of pay for substitutes in the event of a strike.
4) Q. If a teacher strike occurs, can parents still drop off their child at extended care before and after regular school hours?
A. No. In the event of a work stoppage and for the safety of our campus, the district anticipates all before and after school activities, including athletics, clubs, tutoring, arts, civic events and extended day services will be suspended.
5) Q. If FTA votes to strike, is every FTA member required to strike?
A. No. Being a member of FTA does not require a teacher, nurse or speech language pathologist to strike. It is up to each individual if he/she chooses to join the strike.
6) Q. If a teacher chooses to strike, are they paid by the district?
A. No. If an individual chooses to strike, they will not be paid by the district for any day(s) they strike. A strike is a work stoppage and strikers are not paid. Retirement contributions to STRS are reduced for each day teacher strike.
7) Q. Will FTA pay teachers during a strike?
A. Unknown. See your union representative for that answer.
8) Q. For days lost by a strike, won’t we just make them up at the end of the school year?
A. No. Fresno Unified will remain open, safe and functional in the event of a work stoppage so there is no reason to extend the school year or make up lost days.
9) Q. If a teacher strikes, will they and their family still receive health care benefits?
A. Yes. While strikers will not receive a salary if they choose to strike, they and their family will not have a gap in medical insurance coverage. However, there is a reduction to the District STRS contribution.
10) Q. Can teachers use paid time off or sick time to cover missed salary during a strike?
A. No. The District suspends all paid time off and sick time during a strike. The Superintendent or his designee may make exceptions.
11) Q. Can employees, who are not members of FTA take vacation, sick time or paid off time during a strike and be paid?
A. No. All vacations, paid time, professional leaves and sick time are suspended during a strike. The Superintendent or his designee may make exceptions.
12) Q. Do I still participate in professional learning, conferences, Accountable Communities, and Buy Back Days in the event of a strike?
A. No. They would all be cancelled.
13) Q. Can other union partners join FTA in a strike?
A. No. While unions can show their support in a number of ways, Fresno Unified is still negotiating with a handful of our other labor partners. Other bargaining units cannot legally strike until each one has exhausted the negotiations process, which includes mediation and the fact-finding process.
14) Q. As a member of FTA, if I do not strike, what happens to me?
A. If you come to work, the District will continue to pay your regular salary.
15) Q. If teachers do not strike, can they be reassigned to another school site or classroom to support students in the absence of teachers or a substitute teacher?
A. If a teacher chooses not to strike and remain on campus to support students, they may be asked to take on additional students or tasks. While it is unlikely but possible, a teacher may be reassigned based on the needs of the District.
16) Q. As a student teacher, what does a strike mean to me?
A. Student teachers should contact their college advisors. Questions regarding substitute teaching should be directed to Human Resources.
17) Q. How long can a strike last?
A. It’s difficult to say, as Fresno Unified hasn’t had one since 1978. That strike lasted eight days. Last year, Yuba City experienced a strike lasting seven days.
18) Q. I’m being told that if I don’t keep my child at home or support the strike, I may be deported based on my citizenship status. Is that true?
A. No, Absolutely not. The district is a safe place for all Fresno Unified students and their families. That does not change in the event of a strike. The District’s recent Safe Place Resolutions affirms that. The District will not facilitate or participate in any immigration activities at school sites or district facilities to the fullest extent allowed by law.
19) Q. If a strike occurs, will community events be impacted?
A. Yes. In the event of a strike, to ensure safety and security all events in/on district property, outside of regular scheduled school hours, are suspended including community meetings/events, youth athletic tournaments, health center access and Green Space activity.
If you have additional questions, contact Fresno Unified Human Resources at 457-3500