FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno Teachers Association members rallied outside every Fresno Unified school Friday morning for informational pickets with a strike only days away.
The pickets, described as a “day of action”, were held with the goal of informing parents about the potential strike.
“Just to inform parents about the impending strike date, hopefully averting it, giving them information about our aligned priorities, and giving the information, so that way, they could call board trustees and Superintendent Nelson, and saying, ‘we also have these priorities,'” said Fresno Teachers Association President Manuel Bonilla.
Bonilla told us even some parents and students joined in on the early morning picket line.
“We were hoping we could avert all of this and yet, there’s an energy, a positive energy and collaboration with educators and with parents, and with our students. And so, although we hope to still avert a strike, it is beautiful to see just the amount of support that we have,” said Bonilla.
Teachers ended the temporary picket after the first bell on Friday.
The strike is set to officially start Nov. 1, if no agreement is made.
Fresno Unified’s Chief Communication Officer Nikki Henry says it caught many parents off-guard, but that it was a good example of what to potentially expect next week.
“It does give a good idea to our families of what to expect during drop-off and pickup during an active strike. Right? So, I know there’s a lot of fear about that increased activity,” said Henry.
Henry says everything stayed friendly and calm throughout Friday’s pickets.
She says the district is also providing information to parents about what the strike will look like on their website.
Henry says classrooms might be mixed up for students who have to make their way past a picket line.
“You might have classrooms mixed up. So maybe you have some other friends who aren’t in your class in your class that day,” Henry said. “When substitutes show up on campus, they’ll have grade-level curriculum that’s printed. They’ll also have resources online.”
FTA and Fresno Unified School District will head back to the negotiations table over the weekend, in hopes of reaching a deal and averting a strike.