Compton Unified teachers protest over contract talks
Sixty-four teachers called in sick on Nov. 4th in an organized protest over contract negotiations.
Sixty-four educators in Compton Unified School District register protest over lack of contract, stagnant negotiations
COMPTON (MNS) — Sixty-four teachers in the Compton Unified School District participated in a “sick-out” protest, Nov. 4, one day following voter approval of a bond measure that will provide $350 million for improvements in the district. Superintendent Darin Brawley expressed dismay at the teachers behavior.
“Our teachers have unfortunately decided to use a day we should be celebrating, to express their feelings about the election by not coming to work. More than forty teachers called in sick this morning — an action that only hurts our students. They cannot afford to lose valuable classroom time,” Brawley said Nov. 4, in a statement.
The Compton Herald sought clarification from Brawley as to the action of CUSD teachers, but, at press time the superintendent had not responded to our request.
The Herald did receive a response on the massive protest from a teacher who requested anonymity. While infrastructure upgrades and enhancements to CUSD schools is one side of the issue, according to Sally Waggoner (not her real name), contractual concerns of teachers lay at the heart of the issue.
“We still don’t have a contract,” Waggoner said, even though the California Teachers Association (CTA), the union representing CUSD has been in negotiations since Spring Break of the 2014-15 school year. “They can’t seem to come to an agreement in negotiations. They’re negotiating health care benefits for us, which are outrageous — way too expensive.
“And even though we received a [salary increase], our insurance is going up, which will negate the raise,” she said, adding that class size in kindergarten through third grade is also a major issue, noting that the district received funding to ameliorate class size problems, but failed to do so.
Waggoner expressed frustration with a school district she described as “dysfunctional” administratively, a sentiment shared by the majority of teachers in the district, evident by the protest which Waggoner said had nothing to do with the CTA.
Brawley’s statement conveyed a sense of obliviousness to the sick-out, but Waggoner expressed otherwise. “It was no coincidence that sixty-four teachers called in sick. This was teacher-initiated. [We] organized this.”