Members of the California Staff Organization, the union of professionals who work for the California Teachers Association, held an informational picket at the National Education Association Representative Assembly in Boston last week. The staffers handed out a flier to NEA delegates with details about their contract negotiations with CTA management.
The staff union admits some progress has been made, but the two sides remain far apart on salaries and how to deal with CTA’s pension liabilities.
“CTA Management’s salary proposal does not match the cost of living increases in even some of the more affordable locations in California,” the flier states. “This, despite the fact that CTA continues to fund full-time release for Board Members as well as allowances for yard maintenance, house cleaning, child care, and more perks that CSO and CTA members do NOT receive.”
Union employees have a defined benefit pension, but also a 401(k). “CTA Management has agreed to increase its contribution to the retirement trust; CSO and its sister union California Associate Staff have agreed to redirect a 2% 401(k) contribution to the trust; yet CTA Management insists on making that redirection retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017,” reads the flier.
The possibility of losing agency fee hangs over the negotiations, though the staff union was briefed that CTA has enough reserves to continue operating at current levels for two years.
“CTA could be leading the charge on what a strong union does in the face of such a threat. CTA has instead chosen to focus on creating a rift with their employees,” the staff union said, adding, “There is a very real fear that many of us in CSO feel that CTA Management is heading down a path of no return which will lead to the death of the largest and one of the most politically powerful unions in California.”