When union representatives announced the results of a vote to their first contract, a cheer erupted from High Tech High teachers gathered at the San Diego Education Association’s headquarters last week. After more than a year of organizing, and many obstacles, the teachers union finally has its first contract.
Here’s what they got: The contract gives educators benefits and workplace improvements, including a restructured pay scale and retroactive pay increases, guaranteed lunch breaks, an established teacher evaluation process and a limit on class sizes.
It was a hard fought victory, union members said. The approval comes just a couple of months after an impasse was declared, which triggered the appointment of a state mediator, and the speed with which the two sides reached a deal after the impasse surprised some teachers.
But the contract is only the first step, both in repairing the trust between management and teachers – which both sides acknowledged had been frayed by the struggle – and in larger negotiations. The charter network’s uncertificated staff like custodians, academic aids and lunch workers will negotiate a contract next, and the teachers will be back at the table later this year.
County Reviews Its Contracts as Janitors Consider Another Strike
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to put janitorial services at three sites out to competitive bid and begin negotiations with contractors to comply with a new policy passed in December.
That policy requires janitorial, landscaping and security contracts to include agreements ensuring peaceful relations in labor organizing and collective bargaining rights. It also sets aside money in a wage theft fund and establishes a wage floor for workers to be reevaluated every five years.
The policy is supposed to be phased in as current contracts expire, but county leaders are effectively putting pressure on contractors to speed up the transition or face a more competitive bidding process the next time around.
Tuesday’s action stems from a dispute between the county’s contracted janitors and their employer, NOVA. The workers went on strike several weeks ago but stood down after Chair Nora Vargas arranged a cooling-off period for negotiations.
“If we need to go on strike to change our conditions and get a fair salary,” said Maria Guzman through a translator, “we are willing to do so.”
In Other News
- Two San Diego councilmembers are demanding answers about San Diego Gas & Electric’s natural gas prices surged this winter. (City News Service)
- County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to create a region-wide plan to end veteran homelessness, the U-T reports. They also discussed taking proactive measures to accommodate the increased number of migrants and refugees after Title 42, a public health protocol at the border meant to slow the spread of Covid-19, gets lifted. Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer vowed to come up with short-term solutions over the next 30 days. Despite sheltered space and basic needs provided by local homeless-serving nonprofit organizations, dozens of migrants were left on the street or at bus stations.
- The San Diego Foundation received a $100 million gift from a now-deceased Ocean Beach entrepreneur. (City News Service)
- The city and county deployed about $500,000 in former redevelopment funds to expand a downtown shelter for unhoused youth. (Union-Tribune)
- A La Jolla resident recently decided he was done waiting on the city and repainted stairway railings at Windansea Beach himself. The city is not pleased. (La Jolla Light)
- City Attorney Mara Elliott’s office argues that a Superior Court ruling halting a 536-unit project in Rancho Penasquitos could hold up projects citywide. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Jesse Marx, Lisa Halverstadt, Will Huntsberry and Tianrui Huang.