After narrowly voting down a tentative agreement, Unit B of the California School Employees Association Long Beach Chapter 2 will vote on a revised deal next Wednesday, Nov. 10.
The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education meanwhile approved a new contract with CSEA’s Unit A this week after members of that unit ratified their agreement with a 63 percent vote. A similar deal was rejected by 51 percent of voting members in Unit B last week, sending negotiators back to the table where they reached a new tentative agreement with Unit B late Monday.
If Unit B members now ratify their revised agreement with a simple majority, then the Board of Education could schedule a special meeting to OK the deal in time for Unit B furlough days to take effect during the week of Thanksgiving (to coincide with other employees’ furlough days).
Unit B's contract ratification voting will take place Wednesday, Nov. 10 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Transportation Branch, 2700 Pine Ave., and from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Maintenance Branch, 2425 Webster Ave.
Unit A includes clerical and support services employees. Unit B includes construction, maintenance, repair and transportation workers.
Both units A and B had reached similar tentative agreements after about five months of negotiations and during a time of continuing cuts to public education statewide. Despite the state’s attempt to reduce the amount of education cuts in California’s recently adopted budget, LBUSD must deal with a budget shortfall of over $50 million in the next two years.
For Unit A, the approved agreement now provides some job protection and job restoration in exchange for five furlough days this school year and up to seven furlough days next school year, along with other changes to salaries and benefits.
Furlough days this school year, for Unit A employees working a standard work week, are scheduled for Nov. 22 to 24 of 2010 (Thanksgiving week), and for March 25 and March 28 of 2011.
The approved contract’s job restoration language says LBUSD will restore roughly 36 percent of the remaining members on a reemployment list who have been laid off since April 19.
The approved CSEA agreement also includes a 5 percent employee contribution toward health care costs beginning Jan. 1, 2012, and the suspension of step advancement on the classified salary schedule for this school year and the next one. The main revision in the latest Unit B tentative contract is the addition of the following language regarding the 5 percent contribution toward health care costs:
“No later than October 1, 2011, the district and CSEA shall reopen negotiations to assess the need to implement the employee contribution of 5 percent toward their health benefit costs effective January 1, 2012.”
Job protections in the approved and tentative deals include an agreement not to layoff bargaining unit members for the remainder of this fiscal year and next fiscal year, with some exceptions. If the state reduces LBUSD’s funding by $50 or more per pupil, for instance, negotiations may be reopened.
The agreement also includes changes to health benefits, including the elimination of the PacifiCare plan, a change in pharmacy plans and other modifications that will save money while still providing employees with competitive benefits, including a wide range of health plan options and health care providers.