Union asks teachers to close classrooms

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Union asks teachers to close classrooms

Signs have ben displayed on classroom doors advising students about classroom closures amid stalled contract talks between the teacher's union and the school district.

Signs have ben displayed on classroom doors advising students about classroom closures amid stalled contract talks between the teacher's union and the school district.

Alana Luman

Signs have ben displayed on classroom doors advising students about classroom closures amid stalled contract talks between the teacher's union and the school district.

Alana Luman

Alana Luman

Signs have ben displayed on classroom doors advising students about classroom closures amid stalled contract talks between the teacher's union and the school district.

Rhett Acosta, Staff writer

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UPDATE (May 8, 2019)- The Lincoln Unified Teachers Association and Lincoln Unified School District have reached a contract and that contract has been passed by both the district board and LUTA members.  Stay here and check our next issue of The Lincolnian in late May for updates.

 

Picketing, closed classrooms, and bright yellow pins saying “Fair Contract Now.” Teachers are demanding change. For months Lincoln Unified Teachers Association and the district have been negotiating a new contract. The negotiations reached an impasse so a mediator was brought in. When this too yielded little results, teachers decided to take matters into their own hands.

LUTA asked the teachers to partake in bell to bell protests. “Bell to Bell is a strict adherence to the LUTA contract. That means LUTA members work strictly contracted hours” says Lisa Abarca, LUTA bargaining Chair.

“Lincoln Unified Certified Staff have a reputation for working well beyond contracted hours” Abarca stated. She goes on to say that most teachers are at school early, stay late, and even come in on weekends to prep for classes. “They spend a lot time working outside of contracted hours and often are also available to students during their lunch time.”

“No…high school teachers shall be assigned to no more than 25.6 hours of weekly class time” Tiffany Fuhrmeister, LUTA President point out. This leaves the teacher little time prep for classes and be compensated for it. “Many certified staff come in an hour or two hours early and stay several hours after school daily” Fuhrmeister said.

Abarca said that students may still meet with their teacher, but it needs to be scheduled. “…Students need to request support during class time because certified staff availability may be limited outside of scheduled classes.”

Both Abracra and Fuhrmeister said that bell to bell protests are to make a symbolic stand of how much the teachers do behind the scenes. “We want the district to know how much extra time our certified staff puts in daily and that they deserve a fair contract.”

Kellen Thompson, a teacher at Lincoln High says that bell to bell protests are a direct result of the stagnant negotiations. “We’ve gotten to the point of working bell to bell because we had no choice” Thompson said.  

Thompson said that the issues at hand are worth the protests. “The things we’ve proposed during negotiations are very basic. Having a plan for extended day kindergarten and paying for the induction costs of new teachers, just to name a couple of things are worth fighting for” Thompson said.

Thompson also said that the protests are necessary, in order to gain traction and fill in the public. If we don’t raise public awareness about some of the deficiencies in our working conditions, the district simply will not act. We have to move them, which is unfortunate,” Thompson said.

Bell to bell protests will last as long as the negotiations do, said Thompson, adding that teachers are prepared to work bell to bell as until they have a “fair contract.”