Education

Teacher strike is looming for Madera Unified

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A teachers strike is looming as dozens picketed outside the first Madera Unified School Board meeting of the year.

Teachers say the board is trying to take more from them, again.

Madera Unified Teachers Association President David Holder said, "The package deal is built around capping our medical. Putting teachers in mandatory training of 40-100 hours with zero pay. And modifying our contract language that they can just tell an individual teacher or site you're moving."

And these front line educators, like first grade teacher Amanda Wade say it's disgraceful.

"We're out here picketing after school, the second day of school, because we don't want to strike but we will if they won't settle with us for a fair contract," explained Wade.

New Superintendent Edward Gonzalez knows the teachers have gone without raises for years. He's says the district is in a better financial spot, but the millions in additional funding is earmarked for students not teacher benefits.

"We're here for the kids," said Gonzalez. "The community expects us, as adults, to work our problems out and resolve our issues to make sure the kids get the best education. So I'm confident we'll be able to do that."

Teachers say they're not asking for raises. They just want to work under their previous contract, with no caps or cuts.

"We're the ones teaching our children, our hearts are in it," said Wade. "But we have families at home as well. We need to be able to pay for food, shelter and everything else."

These negotiations became so heated last school year, a fact finding committee was created to help the two sides come to an agreement.

The report should be filed here any day. After that there are two weeks to work out a new contract. If not, teachers say they will strike.

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Tags:
strike, madera, madera county, education, rick montanez
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