Research and Technical Unit (RX/TX) Fact Finding is now complete. Our PERB-appointed fact finder – who just 6 months ago was sitting across the table from LA teachers, representing LA school district management – has written a report, giving his opinion and recommendations on the positions of both sides. Under state law, the report remains private until the end of the “quiet” period, which the parties have agreed will coincide with an RX/TX bargaining date on February 13th.
The fact finder’s recommendations are simply that; they are not binding but are provided with the hope of moving the parties closer to an agreement. Unfortunately, UC has made little movement after 18 months and continues to put forward the same unacceptable proposals on wages, retirement, job security, and healthcare.
If an agreement is not reached on February 13th, UC will likely Impose (aka Implement) its terms on RX/TX members – as they have already done to AFSCME 3299 Service and Patient Care members – claiming the parties are at a good-faith final impasse, notwithstanding UC’s repeated unfair labor practices.
UC is likely to implement all of its cuts that are currently on the table, but they cannot impose management rights and deny us our right to bargain. Although UC’s proposals include a small wage increase, there is no question that imposition will move UPTE members backwards, because the raises offered by UC don’t even keep up with inflation.
UPTE sincerely hopes that UC will finally bargain in good faith and give up on the cuts it has stood by for more than 18 months, rather than moving toward imposition and a potential strike.
However, given UC’s history of committing unfair labor practices and failing to bargain in good faith, we have to be prepared to continue the fight for a fair contract and for our right to bargain to be respected, even if it means striking in response to UC’s unfair labor practices.
Make no mistake: even if UC chooses to impose, our fight isn’t over until we sign a contract! UC hopes that by imposing it will break our will to continue fighting – but in 2014 UC was forced to sign a standard-setting contract even though it imposed on AFSCME. We have to keep fighting and show UC that imposition won’t deter us either: that we’re going to continue to mobilize in bigger numbers than ever.
We know we can win, not only because we won in our last round of contract negotiations but because we’re fighting for all Californians: to preserve healthcare, research, and education for the many.