Natomas Workers to See Unpaid Days Restored

Photo by Marc Laver

Photo by Marc Laver

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Classified school workers in Natomas will see their unpaid furlough days restored, according to a proposed settlement agreement reached between their union and the Natomas Unified School District.

Members of the California School Employee Association Chapter 745 last week picketed a school board meeting to protest being the Natomas district’s only employee group still taking mandatory furlough days. The union represents school secretaries, custodians, librarians and others.

All district employees agreed to take unpaid furlough days five years ago when the Natomas Unified School District faced a financial crisis and was forced to trim its budget by millions of dollars, due in part to cuts in state education funding.

The unpaid days – which amount to approximately 5.94 percent of classified workers’ salaries – remained in place even after furloughs were restored for Natomas school district management more than a year ago and to Natomas teachers in June of this year.

According to the proposed settlement agreement signed Tuesday, Oct. 16 by union and Natomas school district representatives, the furloughs equate to 12 unpaid days annually for employees who work 12 months a year, 11 unpaid days for employees who work 11 months a year, and 10 unpaid days for employees who work 10 months a year.

The agreement restores these unpaid days retroactively to July 1, 2013 and must still be ratified by both classified union members and the Natomas Unified school board.

As part of the proposed settlement agreement, the California School Employee Association agreed to drop an unfair labor complaint made last month against the district. In that complaint, the union had alleged the district engaged in conditional bargaining when it offered to restore workers’ furlough days if the union dropped several unfair labor complaints now being decided by state Public Employment Relations Board officials. (Read that offer by NUSD here.)

Natomas Unified School District officials last week said the legal costs associated with these labor complaints – some of which date back two years – made it financially difficult to restore classified employees’ furlough days. Those complaints have not been dropped as part of the pending settlement, according to union representative.

If approved, the proposed settlement agreement would close negotiations for 2012-13 and carries several contractual issues over into talks for 2013-14. The union and school district also agree to resume contract talks by Nov. 30.

“Both Natomas Unified and CSEA leadership look forward to continued opportunities to work together on behalf of our students and staff,” read a joint statement posted on Facebook from Natomas union president Talitha Blizzeard and superintendent Chris Evans.

Classified union workers are expected to vote Oct. 24 on the proposed settlement.


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