Thousands of SEIU 1021 & SCTA members rally at Sac City Unified School Board, announce strike date
Despite a strike looming this week, SCUSD management refused to negotiate with either union over the weekend.
Join SCUSD staff and educators on the picket lines in solidarity starting this Wednesday, March 23, or at our main strike events:
Wednesday, March 23, 11:30 AM
Serna Center - 5601 47th Ave, Sacramento
Thursday, March 24, 11:30 AM
Sacramento County Office of Education – 10474 Mather Blvd., Mather
Friday, March 25, 11:30 AM
City Hall/Cesar Chavez Park – 910 I Street, Sacramento
Last Thursday, March 17, around 2,500 Sacramento City Unified School District classified staff, educators, parents, and community members marched and rallied at Serna Center ahead of the school board meeting, demanding the board hold management accountable for addressing the urgent staffing crisis by negotiating in good faith contracts that will retain and recruit employees.
Thousands of SCUSD students go without even a substitute teacher each day. The shortage of school bus drivers, custodians, instructional aides, and other classified staff have left staff who remain overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the huge demands of running the schools and ensuring Sac City students safe transportation to and from school.
“Classified staff are wiped out. We have over 400 vacancies. Our instructional aides are actually in classrooms without teachers trying to write curricula. Do our kids deserve that? We have lost close to 50 percent of our bus drivers. Sadly, we’ve lost a driver to COVID. We have one on a respirator from COVID who got it on a bus. Our drivers are taking extra-long routes to make up for the lack of staff. We have kids waiting to get transported. We’ve even had teachers at various times have to drive the students home,” said SCUSD Chapter President Karla Faucett at the rally.
At the rally, Sacramento City Teachers Association shared the report of a a neutral fact-finder jointly agreed to by both the Sacramento City Unified District and the Sacramento City Teachers Association. Notably, the fact-finder accepted the central premise of SCTA’s position (which is set forth here) that the way to address the staffing crisis in SCUSD which has left thousands of students without a teacher is to improve compensation and working conditions. “It is counter-intuitive to expect that proposals to shift healthcare costs to employees, or to freeze wages for several years, would help any employer recruit and retain staff,” the fact-finder said in the report.
Even though the District agreed to have a fact-finder step in to resolve the dispute, they are rejecting all parts of the report they disagree with.
As a result of the District’s refusal to accept the fact-finder’s conclusions and work with SCTA to find solutions to the staffing crisis, SCTA announced at the rally that their strike would begin Wednesday, March 23, unless the District made the efforts required to reach an agreement that would prevent the strike. SEIU 1021 announced that classified staff would also start their unfair labor practice (ULP) strike on Wednesday, March 23, alongside educators.
On Friday evening, District management put out a press release in which they say they will close schools starting Wednesday due to the strike, after releasing multiple inflammatory emails lambasting educators, staff, and their unions for standing up for adequate staffing, health, and safety on the job.
Despite management’s alleged concern for students’ education during the strike, they have made no effort so far to prevent a strike. Both SEIU 1021 and SCTA requested to negotiate over the weekend and early this week with the goal of reaching an agreement that would call the strike off. District management refused to bargain over the weekend and set a tentative date with SCTA for Monday, March 21. They have not offered a single bargaining date to SEIU 1021 before March 30, seven days into the strike.
SEIU 1021 filed two more unfair labor practice charges against District management on Friday.
“We know who suffers the most from this staffing crisis: our students and their families. When staff and educators are stretched too thin, kids pay the price. Our working conditions are their learning conditions. Sac City students and families deserve better. And they’re not going to get it until the district starts valuing its employees, from bus drivers and nutrition service workers to teachers,” said Karla Faucett. “Our members have spoken loud and clear: They are prepared to strike to ensure that all Sac City students receive the education they deserve.”