The California Teachers Association is in the midst of negotiating new contracts with its own employees, who are represented by two staff unions. The California Staff Organization has been holding pickets and rallies at CTA and NEA events to draw attention to what the staffers say are unreasonable demands by CTA management.
Over the weekend dozens of CTA employees formed a line around the union’s local presidents conference in San Jose, holding signs that read “When we stand together, we win together.”
CTA wasn’t going to let the staff control the narrative, so it distributed its own bargaining update to the presidents.
“Contrary to the rhetoric disseminated by the staff organizations, CTA is and has been bargaining in good faith,” the update reads. The union’s managers raised the specter of losing agency fee as the rationale for their bargaining stances:
Just as local chapters are preparing for the loss of fair share fees, CTA also has the responsibility to prepare for this reality. There are currently two legal cases moving through the courts with the goal of reaching the U.S. Supreme Court as early as next year. We know losing fair share fees will have an immediate $7.7 million impact on the CTA budget. CTA is committed to maintaining services to our members and wants to avoid the staff layoffs of up to 50 percent experienced in Wisconsin and Michigan when they lost agency fee. This means we must plan ahead and that’s what we’re doing.
The update also notes that the staff retirement trust currently has an unfunded liability of $105 million.
CTA has a $188 million budget, so it’s very likely this will be settled to the satisfaction of all parties. It is strange, however, that the most financially sound NEA affiliate is having the most strained negotiations.