Teachers from the five schools in the South Pasadena Unified School District voted Wednesday to authorize their representatives to call a strike if union leaders determine that negotiations with the district have reached an impasse.
District and union representatives have been negotiating a new wage package since last month. The teachers, who are represented by the California Teachers Assn., have proposed a 15% wage hike. The district responded Tuesday with a 6% offer.
The 150 South Pasadena teachers, who teach about 3,400 students in three elementary schools, a junior high school and a high school, are not expected to strike before next week, a union representative said.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for today, according to union representative Tom Brown. “We have agreed not to strike this week,” he said.
Besides the strike authorization, teachers have also cut back on “voluntary” services, such as after-school club meetings, an action that Brown characterized as a “slow-down.”
The union contends that although the district is near the top among all Southern California districts in hours worked by the average teacher, it is near the bottom in pay. Annual starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $21,921.