Eighty-five percent of Gilroy teachers voted Oct. 4 to ratify their new contract agreement with their employers that includes a 6 percent salary increase over 18 months, according to a Oct. 5 announcement from the Gilroy Teachers Association.
“The agreement was signed on Sept. 18, and within 2 days, 85% of GTA Members had voted to ratify it,” GTA stated.
Along with the pay raise, the collective bargaining agreement includes improvements in extra-duty rates of pay and an increase in medical benefits. In a side agreement, teachers will be more quickly notified if their own children will be placed in a local school of choice, according to the Oct. 5 press release.
“GTA views the outcome as positive for students, teachers and GUSD as a whole,” GTA stated. “Improved salaries and benefits is a step in the right direction (though more work is needed) towards increasing GUSD’s ability to provide excellent instruction by attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers.
“The effort put forth by the GUSD Board and Administration during bargaining will contribute to a sense of being valued in the workplace; and the organizing effort put forth by GTA during bargaining will contribute to a sense of community among union members,” the GTA statement continued.
The agreement comes at a time of reduced school funding due to declining enrollment, which was one of the talking points of the administration during negotiations. Gilroy teachers had been working without a contract since June 2017.
“GUSD’s changing financial landscape provides an opportunity for a renewed, cooperative relationship between GUSD and GTA, as we work together to keep our schools strong and stable,” said GTA President Jonathan Bass.
According to the new contract, which runs through June 30, 2020, teachers will receive a 2 percent ongoing increase to the certificated salary schedules retroactive to July 1, 2017; another 2 percent ongoing increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018; and a third 2 percent boost effective Jan. 1, 2019.
On Sept. 14, GTA and GUSD negotiators attended an all-day hearing before a three-person panel that included an impartial state fact finder, presented arguments and data supporting their positions and then bargained late into the evening. The two sides held another bargaining session Sept. 15, where the tentative agreement was reached.
“We are pleased that both sides engaged in good-faith bargaining through the state’s impasse resolution process,” said Supt. Deborah A. Flores after coming to the agreement. “We were able reach to common ground in a spirit of compromise and collaboration.”
Due to the increase costs, GUSD staff shared it will need to cut $5 million from its budget over a three-year period. The district has already made nearly $1 million in budget reductions and will now identify an additional $4 million in potential reductions over the next two years, which will be discussed at upcoming board meetings.