Sacramento, CA

SCUSD negotiators leave meeting for five hours teachers say, meeting called off

Robert J Hansen
Teachers and other employees of Sacramento City Teachers Association striking at SCUSD headquarters on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.(Courtesy of Black Zebra Productions)

Sacramento, Calif.- by Robert J Hansen

When the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) and Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) met to negotiate teachers’ pay and to avoid a strike, the district asked for a fifteen-minute break and then didn't come back for more than 5 hours according to educator Kara Synhorst.

“About 32 minutes into bargaining, I got a text from SCUSD saying the school was closed Wednesday, which did not seem like a good sign,” Synhorst said on Facebook. “I've now learned that less than an hour into that meeting … my colleagues were left hanging on a Zoom call for 5 hours while the district ... did what?”

SCUSD said, “Last night, the SCUSD negotiations team met from 2:30 p.m. until late into the night at the bargaining table with the SCTA and two state-appointed mediators, who provided ongoing negotiations support between the two parties.”

According to the SCTA, after one hour of negotiating, district negotiators left 'to the caucus' and never returned. A state mediator had to call off the bargaining session in the absence of the SCUSD representatives.

“Frankly, after 20 plus years working in a dysfunctional district, I wonder why I’m still here. I don’t want to strike, but I am fully prepared to do so,” educator Jen Wiese said.

The classified union, SEIU 1021, still doesn't have a date for bargaining that precedes the planned strike according to Synhorst.

“Their (SCUSD) many ‘updates’ to the public talk about ‘enhanced’ contracts for teachers, when the actual proposal would mean many of my colleagues would newly have $1,000 deductions from each paycheck to continue their much-needed care treatment plans with their doctors,” Synhorst said. “We were assured that the reason the district couldn't meet Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was that they wanted to be well-prepared for the negotiations. But I guess they needed five more hours immediately after the meeting started.”

“I’m going to join my fellow teachers, nurses, librarians, behavior specialists, paraprofessionals, health aides, campus monitors, office staff, bus drivers, nutrition workers, and so many more who deserve so much better,” Synhorst said.

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

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