GLENDALE — The union that represents non-teaching employees at Glendale Unified reached a tentative agreement late last week that saves the school district $1.2 million this upcoming school year, officials said.
The savings put a dent in the $21.8-million deficit projected for 2013.
The agreement calls for a sliding range of unpaid work furlough days — seven for year-round employees and three for nine-month hires. More importantly, California School Employees Assn. local President Richard Carroll said, it preserves fully funded medical care for 90% of the union's members.
"You have to see the big picture," said Carroll, who is also a painter in Glendale Unified. "You can't always be a taker, and we understand that if we all work together when the times are tough, we can all be working together when the times are better. We had to give something back. It had to give somewhere. I tried to minimize the pain and still be positive so we can move forward."
The union of custodians, administrative assistants, secretaries and other non-teaching employees represents about 20% of the district's operating budget, said Chief Financial Officer Eva Lueck.
The full membership is scheduled to vote June 16 on the tentative contract, which must also be ratified by the Board of Education.
The 10% of union membership who will have to make contributions to their family PPO plan can opt out.
Union members were able to negotiate a $14,100 district contribution to health-care plans for members in exchange for furlough days, Carroll said.
"By working the furlough days on a sliding scale, by doing that, it spreads it more evenly and fairly to the group, in our opinion," he said.
District officials offered Glendale Teachers Assn. more than $13,500 at the most recent negotiating session, but both sides remain at an impasse.
The Glendale Teachers Assn. represents more than 60% of the district operating budget, according to the school district, and has been reluctant to negotiate until July 16, when a fact finder will investigate both sides' arguments.