After years of stagnant wages, classified employees are finally seeing long-overdue salary relief in recent months.
The raises largely result from the CFT campaign two years ago to pass Proposition 30. This year, the governor’s budget included $5.6 billion in additional funding for K-14 education. Prop. 30 will generate an average of about $6 billion per year for seven years.
“We still have a long way to go to restore the cuts to education due to the Great Recession and years of inadequate taxes on the wealthy and corporations,” said CFT President Josh Pechthalt. “But we are finally on the right path.”
In Merced, the Weaver Federation of Educational Employees bargained a 6.5 percent raise retroactive to July 2013, plus another 1 percent for special education aides, and a sweetened shift differential for custodians who work late.
The Ventura County Federation of Paraeducators negotiated a 5 percent pay raise and a $300 increase to each longevity increment for paras and teachers, with a big bump in the stipend for staff who perform medical procedures on severely handicapped students.
Local President Terri Floros said the contract also clarified the definition of “just cause” and added a step to progressive discipline actions.
In the San Joaquin Valley, the Lemoore Federation of Classified Employees matched the 3.5 percent on-schedule raise and 4.5 percent off-schedule bonus district teachers had negotiated. The local also raised the cap on benefits by more than $115 monthly per employee.
“Overall, people were pretty satisfied with the contract, but felt the district could do better,” said local President Ed Collins. He expects the district to agree to a new round of pay raises next year, and to continue backfilling personnel cuts. “We’re moving in the right direction,” he said.
In San Mateo County, the Jefferson AFT Federation agreed to a 4.5 percent salary increase with a 1.5 percent salary bonus and significant increases to all medical caps.
San Diego’s AFT Guild brought several bargaining unit contracts into alignment in recent negotiations, making significant gains on non-financial issues such as consistent policies, rules, and procedures throughout all units; enhanced security for staff threatened at work; paid parental leave for non-birthing parents and use of district childcare facilities.
“Personal business is everyone’s favorite,” said Tina Solórzano Fletcher, membership coordinator for the Guild and CCE secretary. “It was bargained away some time back and we’ve been fighting to get it back. If it’s approved by your supervisor, you can go to a medical appointment, for example, and not have to use your sick or vacation time.”