The Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) and the Riverbank Teachers Association (RTA) were in mediation on Monday, July 11 where they have been trying to come to an agreement on a new contract and resolve the impasse. Unfortunately, they did not come to an agreement at this mediation. Both parties met without the mediator and attempted to come to an agreement on their own.
RUSD and RTA could possibly meet earlier than the next scheduled session, which is currently set for Aug. 11 at the California Teachers Association office in Ceres.
The school district had been negotiating with the Classified School Employee Association (CSEA) as well and on May 20 both parties reached a tentative agreement for the 2015-16 contract. In June, CSEA members ratified the agreement with 47 members in favor of the contract and six opposed, according to Dr. Daryl Camp, Superintendent, RUSD which was reported by CSEA. At a school board meeting on June 21, the board of education approved the agreement. In the agreement the employees will receive a five percent retroactive salary increase for the 2015-16 school year and a 2.5 percent one-time bonus.
Members of CSEA are school secretaries, bus drivers, custodians, para-educators, and other support staff in the district.
The RTA and RUSD were originally scheduled for mediation on June 1, however due to an emergency the RTA had to reschedule that mediation session.
According to Camp, the district responded to the cancelation of the June 1 meeting with the desire to continue to negotiate and requested RTA to modify their team, as the District has done in the past.
Camp sent out an email with an update on negotiations on June 21 which stated, “The District desires to reach an agreement that maintains the fiscal health of the District, provides for the RUSD students and ensures staff are competitive in terms of total compensation. The District desires to meet as soon as possible in hopes of reaching a settlement. The District continues to offer to meet on evenings, weekends and holidays.”
According to Jim Boling, President of RTA, the school district did not originally have any open dates in July so the next available date would have to be in August. Last week he explained that he received an email that stated that RUSD had an opening for Monday, July 11; however the Mediator was not available on that day. Both sides agreed to go ahead with the Monday session and meet without the Mediator present, though it did not result in a settlement.
RUSD has offered a 5-percent salary increase to RTA for the 2015-16 school year which has not been accepted.
“The mediation process continues until either an agreement is reached or the mediator certifies the parties for fact-finding,” stated Camp. “The District remains committed to working with RTA’s negotiation team to reach an agreement as expeditiously as possible. The District will continue to offer to meet throughout the summer months, in the evening or weekends if necessary in order to reach an agreement.”
If mediation is unsuccessful the next step in the process is Fact Finding and if that process fails the next step could be a strike.
“Although an agreement was not reached, I continue to be optimistic that an agreement will be reached in the near future,” expressed Camp following Monday’s session. “I would like to thank the RTA negotiations team for coming in during the summer in an effort to try to come to a resolution with respect to the collective bargaining agreement.”