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TUSD union negotiations move into fact finding
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Since the Turlock Unified School District declared impasse on May 4, the unions and district administration have been battling in the negotiation room in an effort to leave all parties satisfied. So far no such luck.

The Turlock Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association are moving into the fact finding process with the district within the next couple of weeks. The Turlock Classified – American Federation of Teachers currently has a tentative agreement with the district and negotiations are going well.  

“We gave them what they wanted and they declined,” said Kyle Harvey, chairperson for CSEA. “We want temporary (salary reductions) and they want permanent (salary reductions).”

The district is asking CSEA and TTA to take a two percent on-going salary reduction, said Sonny Da Marto, TUSD superintendent.

“I can’t imagine we are going into fact finding over two percent, especially when we have to cut six million dollars in the next two years,” Da Marto said. “We have to have this. I am not going to let this district get into jeopardy of going financially bankrupt.”

TTA is moving into the fact finding process on Aug. 23 and CSEA hasn’t set a date yet for the fact finding process.

During the process, the district and the unions will produce facts about what is being negotiated and present it to a three-member panel, Da Marto said.

The three-member panel is made up of one representative for the district, one for the unions and one representative is neutral and selected by the state.

A hearing will then be set where the district and the unions will present their facts to the panel, he said. The panel will then come up with a recommendation within 30 days of the hearing and give their findings to both the district and the unions.

The findings must be made public to the community and presented to the TUSD Board of Trustees, Da Marto said. The board of trustees can then accept or not accept the findings. The unions can also accept or not accept the findings.

The board can accept the findings and the union not accepting the findings, which would then give the unions the right to strike, he said.

Harvey said that CSEA doesn’t want to go on strike but he could see it happening in the near future, stating that they have no other choice.

Back when impasse was declared, TTA President Julie Shipman said that her union was experiencing on-going frustrations with the district.

“We are not blaming the district for being in this situation, but if the district would work with us, that would be nice,” Shipman said. “The district is not offering any counter offers or budging. They only want the two percent salary reduction.” Shipman feels that TTA has been the only one that has been giving and that the district is sticking with their same request, she said. “There is not enough sugar to help the medicine go down,” Shipman said. To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.