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TUSD employees receive pay raise, increased benefit cap

The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve amendments to the 2014-2017 agreements with both the California School Employees Association and the Turlock Classified American Federation of Teachers, effectively giving both groups an annual increase to their salaries and an increase in benefits.

The two unions, which represent all of the non-certificated positions in the district, met separately with TUSD in order to negotiate amendments to the existing agreements.

According to Director of Human Resources Fernando Ureno, negotiations between TC-AFT and TUSD were reopened on June 6, and four articles in the previous agreement were renegotiated between the parties: Article VII, Salaries and Benefits; Article IX, Leaves of Absence; Article X, Transfers or Reassignments and Article XI, Disciplinary Action. After only two negotiation sessions, the parties were able to reach a tentative agreement on June 6 and June 29, which was ratified on Aug. 16.

On May 24, CSEA reopened negotiations with TUSD, negotiating to amend four existing articles: Article V, Transportation; Article VII, Salaries and Benefits; Article XI, Transfers, Assignments, Reassignments, Promotions and Demotions and Article XIII, Evaluation Procedures.

Of the amendments made to both agreements, the most significant changes came to the groups’ agreements on Salaries and Benefits. It was proposed for both unions that the District grant an annual increase of two percent to salaries and an increase of $1,000 to the current Benefits Cap.

“I really appreciate the bargaining unions meeting over the summer when a lot of people were off,” said Board President Frank Lima. “I know there’s a lot of talk about collaboration and wanting to work with the administration, but TC-AFT and CSEA have really proven by their actions their willingness to work with the administration and I really appreciate that.”

With the $1,000 increase to the Benefits Cap, both union groups will see their health care benefits increase from $7,124 annually to $8,124 annually. The salary and Benefits Cap increases for both union groups are retroactive to July 1, 2016.

 “I know I haven’t been here long, but I’ve been able to have the opportunity to work with both groups and I must say that it’s been very positive all the way around,” said Ureno. “I think after working with both associations, we’re going to have a very positive and productive year.”