Charter Oak : Union Teachers Picket to Protest Salary Talks

Marching to protest a three-month impasse in salary negotiations, teachers in the Charter Oak Unified School District began picketing outside their schools this week.

Pat Nixon, president of the Charter Oak Educators Assn., said the picketing will continue at all 10 schools in the district, which serves portions of Covina and Glendora, until an agreement is reached.

Michael Caston, the district's chief negotiator and assistant superintendent of personnel services, said both sides are waiting for a new bargaining session to be scheduled by a state-appointed mediator, who was called in to settle the dispute when negotiations were declared at an impasse in early December.

Union members rejected the district's last offer last month, which had been approved by negotiators for the district and the teachers, Caston said. The proposed settlement called for a 7% raise effective April 1.

Nixon said the teachers turned down the proposal because it would have only given them a 2.1% increase for the current school year without retroactive benefits. She said that district administrators were given a 6% raise in January, which would carry over through the rest of the year.

"We feel we are the ones carrying the burden. We are the ones teaching the children. We feel we are more important to the education process," Nixon said. "They (the union members) are very disappointed with the district's offer and the district's treatment."

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