YUBA CITY – Earlier today the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) refused the Yuba City Unified School District’s (YCUSD) attempt to deny teachers’ the right to strike. YCUSD last week filed papers asking that PERB seek an injunction barring the Yuba City Teachers Association (YCTA) from going on strike. The district wasted no time in widely publicizing its filing, in what teachers say is yet another act of intimidation.
“In trying to strip teachers of their legal right to strike, the district was asking PERB to put its thumb on the bargaining scale, tipping it in favor of the district. We’re grateful but not surprised that PERB saw through this ploy and rejected the district’s request. This correct decision makes it clear that YCUSD must stop treating teachers like tall children,” said YCTA President Dina Luetgens. “We hope the district will work with the union as an equal partner to settle this contract.”
Bargaining has been contentious between the teachers and the financially healthy Yuba City Unified School District. Teachers say they are concerned about attracting and retaining quality, qualified educators because so many staff are leaving for neighboring districts that offer better compensation packages. School started this year with 40 unfilled positions after 53 teachers resigned and 17 retired at the end of the school year. The district has filled at least 10 positions by hiring interns, and teachers are concerned about the number of classrooms that will not have fully credentialed teachers.
“Teacher turnover hurts kids, so this contract must help this district attract and retain quality people for our students,” said Luetgens. “There is no more important expenditure than investing in a stable and highly qualified team of teachers to work directly with our students.”
Teachers voted overwhelmingly in May to authorize YCTA’s executive board to call a strike in the event a contract settlement is not reached.
“We are prepared to make this sacrifice for our students and our community,” she said. “We don’t want to strike, but we will for our students, our schools and our community.