COMMUNITY UPDATE ON LABOR NEGOTIATIONS
Tentative Agreement with CSEA Chapter #396
Late in the afternoon on Monday June 13, 2023, CSEA’s and District’s negotiations teams reached a Tentative Agreement (“TA”) covering the current 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years. The T.A. must now be ratified by CSEA bargaining unit members and approved by the Board before it goes into effect. Once it is finalized, the District will pay a 7.5% increase retroactive to July 1, 2022 and another 3% increase starting on July 1, 2023. The T.A. includes an increase to the District contribution towards members’ health and welfare benefits premiums. CSEA reserved the right to re-open on salary and benefits for the 2023-2024, if certain groups of employees, including management, receive a higher total compensation package over both years.
Reaching this T.A. required a lot of discussion, explanation and understanding of the Districts’ current financial status. Each day a student is absent, the averaged number used by the State to fund the percentage increase to the District also decreases and does not result in a greater level of funding. The Board is faced with a structural deficit where expenses each year have been more than the amount of funds it has received from the state. The costs of goods, services and state fees towards employee pensions have increased. Increasing retiree health benefits costs have been paid from general funds without a trust fund to help build revenue over time to supplement payments for this ongoing, increasing, and outstanding financial liability.
The District’s bargaining team extends its sincere appreciation for the honest and direct conversation CSEA bargaining team leaders brought to the table. This T.A. was reached with a true collaborative effort. CSEA understood that a different model for retiree health and welfare benefits for future employees (hired after July 1, 2023) was needed. They recognized that a two year agreement on salary and benefits would help the District wrestle with its budgeting and expenditures for the upcoming 2023-2024 year and to plan for the 2024-2025 year. The District must be mindful of its financial responsibility and expects that CSEA will look closely at its decisions to reduce and not increase unnecessary expenditures and wherever possible to maximize the use of restricted funds to make general funds available to offer better pay and improved benefits for all employees in the future.
The District looks forward to hearing from CSEA that its members have ratified this T.A. In the meantime, the District must submit a report (A.B. 1200) to the Fresno County Office of Education, to approve the District’s ability to enter into this T.A. Once ratified by CSEA, the District will schedule approval of this T.A. at the next regular Board Meeting.
Negotiations With Parlier Faculty Association
The District continues to negotiate with PFA. The parties last met on June 5, 2023 and they are still apart on most of the proposed contract language, including terms for salary and benefits. The Board met on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, to provide its bargaining team with direction for their next bargaining session set for Wednesday, June 21, 2023.