Compton, California teachers at 10 of the district’s 37 schools called in sick on Friday after 200 teachers called in sick on Monday of that week. These sick-outs have followed a year-long battle between the school district and its teachers union.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, writing for KPCC Public Radio, reports that the Compton Education Association said that teachers from many schools in the Compton Unified School District did not come to school, a move they seemed to be using as a way to pressure the district to make progress on delayed contract discussions.
“This is the second time this week that the teachers have chosen to miss work and carry over the issues related to the contract negotiations to our students, schools, and community,” school board president Satra Zurita said in a written statement.
The teachers have requested a new contract that would include a 5% pay raise. But Patrick Sullivan, president of the teachers union, said the district needs to put dollars into the classrooms where students learn.
A large number of students stayed away from schools on Friday because they believed that their teachers also would be absent, but at many of those campuses, teachers did come to school.
“The students didn’t want to relive what happened Monday so a lot of students didn’t come, but it turned out teachers came,” said eleventh grader L’Shay Brown.
One of three teachers who arrived at work on Friday at Walton Middle School, Jorge Torrentes, said the salaries for classroom instructors was just not keeping up with the cost of living.
He added that there were circumstances that force employees to make a stand. Teachers, he shared, have tried to negotiate and wait patiently, but the they have not had a raise in two years even though they had been seeking a raise for seven years prior, reports John Cádiz Klemack for KNBC-TV.
Friday was the fourth time in the last two years that teachers called in sick as a form of protest. Some parents think the teachers are doing what they have to do since CUSD seems unable to negotiate, which they feel is hurting students.
Sullivan says that next week the classified staff in the district may act since they too are in the midst of labor negotiations.
CUSD Superintendent Darin Brawley posted a letter on Feb. 3 saying that they have tried to negotiate for a year. He said that the district had offered a 2% increase and a raise in the annual medical benefits cap for teachers by $1,000.
These actions, he posted, are in addition to the 5% salary hike given to teachers for the 2013-2014 academic year. And, he continued, Compton employees, unlike those in other districts across the state, never received a reduction in salaries during the recession, reports William Bigelow for Breitbart.
KABC-TV’s John Gregory says the teacher labor dealings are stressful and concerning for parents. Parents are upset that their children are not getting a sufficient education and, in some cases, even adult supervision.
Some moms and dads feel the district is not keeping them informed, and others feel confused that the teachers could be robbing the kids of their education.
CUSD did have extra staff available on Friday to supervise the young people who came to classes because the district officials had been informed of the planned labor action.