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Negotiations Stall Between ABCFT and ABCUSD


February 9, 2022

By Brian Hews

The ABC Federation of Teachers is currently staging a work slow down that started last Monday, ahead of a sick-out and possible strike in the coming days.

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

Although the two sides are negotiating, negotiations have stalled, according to ABCFT’s Ray Gaer.

The teachers have worked two years without a contract and without any COLA raises, according to 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.”

HMG-CN has received a communique from the ABCFT to union members Tuesday that stated, “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.

“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 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 spend.

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

The latest ABCFT newsletter stated, “Negotiations between ABCFT and ABCUSD resumed [Wednesday] morning after two days of member work to rule job action, which encouraged the district to finally reach out to ABCFT to resume salary compensation negotiations.

“As of Wednesday afternoon, the ABCFT Negotiating team has delivered the latest salary compensation proposal to the ABCUSD negotiating team and was told that we have to wait for a response from the school board on Tuesday, February 15th. The school board will determine the fate of the ABCFT proposal in a closed session before the open session of the school board meeting.

The newsletter continued, “the ABCFT negotiating team is scheduled to return to the table on February 16th to discuss the latest District response. ABCFT members will continue to work to rule with the intent of encouraging ABC School Board member holdouts to reconsider their unwillingness to find a resolution for this salary negotiation cycle. The work to rule the campaign will continue until ABCFT members are heard and have a tentative agreement.

“ABCFT is currently delivering informational flyers to the school sites for members to hand out. The informational flyers ask parents to write letters to Board President, Soo Yoo and Vice President, Brad Beach in support of our campaign for a fair salary compensation package.

“ABCFT leadership is encouraging members to attend the school board meeting Tuesday, February 15th where they can read their letters to the school board members during the public comments section of the meeting.”

Councilman Frank Yokoyama told HMG-CN, ” As an ABC alumnus, an ABC parent of two students, and a Cerritos Councilmember, I am grateful and thankful to the ABC Unified School District, Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu, the ABC School Board members, and especially the hard-working and exemplary ABC teachers and nurses. On behalf of concerned ABC families, parents and students, I respectfully call for immediate good faith negotiations between the ABCUSD and the ABCFT. The ABCUSD has long been an award-winning School District and that starts with the ABC teachers. I respectfully request that the ABCUSD and the ABCFT negotiate a fair compensation package for the ABC teachers and nurses.”

HMG-CN is waiting for a statement from ABCUSD.