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SLOW DOWN: ABCFT Slams Board Members, Praises Two Others

February 8, 2022

By Brian Hews

This past Sunday, Hews Media Group-Cerritos News, not City News Service, was the first to report that the ABC Federation of Teachers would stage a work slow down the next day, ahead of a sick-out and possible strike in the coming days.

The teachers have worked two years without a contract and without any COLA raises, according to one source, a teacher in ABC, who called in and left a message with HMG-CN, but did not want to leave their name.

“Teachers are fleeing the District because of certain members on the board, we have a teacher shortage and they have no clue, all they want to do is build their $10 million Aquatic Center. We are among the lowest-paid teachers in the county, something must be done.”

The key statement was “certain members of the board.”

HHMG-CN has received a communique from the ABCFT to union members that states, “For the last 24 hours, ABCFT Teachers and Nurses have overwhelmingly supported the deliberate job action in the form of the ABCFT YOUnity Work to Rule Campaign. This campaign is designed to draw attention to the lack of support for educators by the ABC School Board members.

“Please note that board members Dr. Olga Rios and Dr. Chris Apodaca have been very supportive and continue to fight for ABC employees in public and behind the scenes.

 

Dr. Apodaca and Dr. Rios

Dr. Apodaca and Dr. Rios.

 

“However, the rest of the school board members talk about supporting educators but their actions indicate otherwise as they continue to pile more expectations upon ABC employees yet fail to provide a compensation package that recognizes the value of our exceptional work.”

The remaining Board Members are President Soo Yo, VP Brad Beach, Sophia Tse, Ernie Nishii, and Michel Eugenio.

The ABCFT ordered a Work to rule action which is a unified occupational action in which teachers do no more than the professional responsibilities required in the Negotiated Agreement and Board of Education policies.

The main problems are that the teachers haven’t had a contract in two years, no raises, this with the ABCUSD having a reserve percentage that is far above the required percentage.

It is something Rios and Apodaca have been complaining about for months, while proposing raises and a one-time bonus for the ABCFT.

ABC’s reserve currently sits at a whopping 14%, the cap is 10%, minimum 4%, so they have 10% to play with.

Meanwhile the District is losing mental health professionals, substitutes, students, and teachers.

ABCFT’s Ray Gaer first sent his response to  HMG-CN this past Sunday, “You are correct that the members of ABCFT will commence a work-to-rule campaign starting Monday. We are not entertaining a strike at this time but we are trying to illustrate to the ABCUSD School Board that our work matters and should be valued.

“It is unfortunate that we have not been able to come to a fair compensation package for our members who have not seen a pay increase since July 2019. We have been in negotiations since October 2021 and we have been disappointed by some of the demands proposed by the ABCUSD School Board.

“We have been good-faith partners in this negotiations process and we have not been public about our struggle except at school board meetings. ABCFT believes that we can come to an agreement in a timely manner that will maintain the dignity of all stakeholders. 

“Teachers and nurses have been supporting students and parents in ABC to the best of their ability often spending untold hours outside of school so they can maintain their student’s academic progress. Many of the ABCFT membership feel exhausted by their efforts and are disappointed that their professionalism is not recognized by ABCUSD.

“Everyday teachers, nurses, administrators and staff are asked to do additional duties that take them away from their main jobs.  For example, the impact of COVID quarantine guidelines has added additional unpaid preparation to make sure students who are quarantined have classwork to ensure they don’t fall behind.

“As of mid-January, there have been at least six thousand students that have needed supplies and classwork for their quarantine.  There are many examples over the last two years that would illustrate the unique challenges teachers and nurses have faced which have not been recognized by the ABCUSD School Board. 

“Over the work to rule campaign, our members will continue to serve the needs of their student’s academic and mental health because they are committed to their students and are at their core hardworking professionals who will do the right thing. 

“We seek a fair compensation package that will not endanger the financial health of the district. We seek a compensation package that will not negatively impact our students and their families. We seek a compensation package that continues to invest in ABC employees which will continue to maintain the tradition of excellence we have experienced as part of the ABC Community. “

Texts and emails into ABCUSD went unanswered, later they answered another newspaper with, “we are in negotiations.”

 

 

 

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