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TUSD, unions come to pay agreement
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All three unions reached an agreement with the Turlock Unified School District on Tuesday that will see employees taking an on-going two percent pay cut.

“I am very pleased that all employees decided to help in these times of economic stress,” said Sonny Da Marto, TUSD superintendent.

This was the first time in the past five years that the district and the unions could not reach an agreement without declaring impasse.

The district declared impasse on May 21 with all three unions. They then moved into mediation where a professional mediator was selected and tried to help move negotiations forward between all parties.

Two unions — the Turlock Classified-American Federation of Teachers and the California School Employees Association — came to an agreement with the district out of mediation but the Turlock Teachers Association was forced to move into the next step in impasse, which is fact finding.

A fact finder came in to review all financial records but an agreement was reached before the findings were presented to the board of trustees.

TUSD employees took an on-going three percent cut last year and with the on-going two percent cut they agreed to take this year, they will be taking a total pay cut of five percent for the 2010/2011 school year.

The Turlock Classified-American Federation of Teachers was the first union out of the three to reach an agreement with the district after 14 months of negotiations, with their contract being approved on Tuesday.  

“We have always had a good relationship with the district,” said Reggie Gomes, president of TC-AFT. “It is a difficult time for everybody and our members are very understanding.”

Agreeing to take a two percent cut is no easy task, but Gomes said after doing research and working together it was the best option available.

“We came to terms that this is the best thing to do at this time,” she said.

TC-AFT’s contract was scheduled to be approved by the board of trustees on Aug. 17, but it was postponed until Tuesday after the union requested the addition of a pay restoration clause.

“We expanded the language to include restoration language,” Da Marto said.

Restoration language declares that if “the funding provided to the district by the state increases above the level anticipated in the district’s three-year multi-year projection submitted with the adopted budget for 2010-11, salary restorations shall be made.”

The same restoration language is embedded in the contract for the Turlock Teachers Association, which was the first contract to be approved by the board of trustees.

Their contract was approved on Aug. 17, cutting them short of the fact finding process.

“We are pleased to have (the board of trustees) approve our agreement,” said TTA President Julie Shipman at the board of trustees meeting on Aug. 17. “Our teachers are happy to hear that you guys are behind us. Sorry it took so long, but if we listened to each other we could have done it faster. We wanted a temporary fix to a temporary problem.”

And the restoration clause created that temporary fix the unions were looking for.

The California School Employees Association was also looking for a temporary solution.

“We want temporary (salary reductions) and they want permanent (salary reductions),” said Kyle Harvey, CSEA chairperson.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.