Dallas contract talks go nowhere
Teachers union leader accuses school district of ‘failure to bargain.’
The union that represents Dallas School District teachers plans to file a complaint alleging an unfair labor practice and is still planning a strike on Nov. 22, union President Michael Cherinka Jr. said after an unproductive negotiation session Tuesday.
Cherika issued a news release accusing the district of “failure to bargain.” The union on Tuesday also presented a counter proposal to the district’s Oct. 30 offer. Board member Jim Gattuso said the latest union proposal was a big step back.
“It was very frustrating,” Gattuso said. “It’s crazy. I don’t get it.”
The district on Oct. 30 proposed a five-year agreement, which would cover 2015-16 and 2016-17 but not include retroactive pay increases for those years. The average salary for union members would increase from $62,392 last year to $73,840 this year, $76,207 in 2018-19 and $78,567 in 2019-20, according to the district offer.
Dallas teachers have been working without a labor deal from more than two years. Teachers went on strike in 2016 from Nov. 14 to Dec. 19 and again this year from Sept. 22 to Oct. 3.
The union demanded retroactive pay increases that would cost $900,000 in retroactive pay for 201516 and 2016-17 and more than $1.5 million for the next three years, Gattuso said. The union also objected to a district proposal that required teachers pay a premium contribution for more comprehensive health benefits and a district proposal to cut the amount paid as an early-retirement incentive, Gattuso said.
The district accused the union’s bargaining team “of negotiating for themselves,” Cherinka said, noting the team is made up of 12 people with years of service that ranges from seven to 38. The union, the Dallas Education Association, represents more than 170 teachers and other professionals, including guidance counselors.