FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno Teachers Association (FTA) could go on strike soon if a deal isn’t reached.
Meanwhile, the FTA has filed an unfair practice charge against the district, claiming they are discouraging teachers from striking through the loudspeaker at school, and through staff emails. Tensions are high and time is running out.
Voting for teachers to choose whether to strike or not ended at 5 p.m. on Monday night. The results will be gathered and put out Tuesday.
All this while the district reviews claims that administrators intimated teachers over the loudspeaker in schools.
The FTA posted the claim and the email on their Facebook page.
Filing an unfair practice charge against Fresno Unified.
“A district that is actively endorsing things that would violate our member’s right to have their voice heard,” said Manuel Bonilla, President of the FTA.
Bonilla and members claim the district is threatening or discouraging teachers from striking both on-site at schools and in an email sent to all staff members.
“An email that says their administrators are allowed to ask who is going to participate and who is not going to participate. Obviously taken as some sort of intimidation factor and not allowed,” he said.
Nikki Henry is the Chief Communications Officer with Fresno Unified.
“Our team is reviewing the charges. Fresno Unified respects the rights of our members to participate in any work activity or work stoppage,” said Henry.
The district has received the complaint and is currently reviewing it.
“Especially as you’re leading up to a strike vote, it’s going to be careful and focused that both of our sides are acting appropriately,” said Henry.
Meanwhile, the teachers are marking their ballots on whether to strike or not.
These votes are set to be released by Tuesday.
“[The] FTA has four sticking points, and we really want to focus there,” Henry said. “What are the ways we can come together for a compromise to close this deal and avoid a strike.”
The district put out a new proposed package on Oct. 13, which received harsh criticism from members.
“Our folks are speaking with a clear mandate that these four items are a priority and that we get a deal that really hits these priority items,” rebutted Bonilla.
Still, if all of the teachers strike, the district is ready for it with an emergency budget of three million dollars.
“Substitutes are a normal part of business,” she said. “They are credentialled, they are safe and background checked, and so our classes will continue, just as if your teacher was sick that day.”
The FTA and the District are set to meet again for negotiations on Tuesday night.