ALAMEDA -- A crowd of about 150 people -- Alameda teachers and their supporters -- staged a rally Tuesday night in front of City Hall to press the Alameda Unified School District for a new contract.
"What do we want? Fair contract. When do we want it? Now," the crowd chanted
The rally was called after both sides held a 101/2-hour bargaining session Monday without reaching an agreement. The teachers and the school board have met 23 times without being able to agree to terms, according to the Alameda Education Association.
"We haven't been able to settle a fair and reasonable contract," said Gray Harris, president of the 524-member teachers union. "It's dragged on."
Harris told supporters the negotiating team for the teachers has done everything possible to get to an agreement. Supporting the teachers were former teachers, the Alameda Firefighters Local 689, local members of the Teamsters union and United Food and Commercial Workers Union and teachers from Fremont and Castro Valley.
The rally before Tuesday's school board meeting follows the union twice declaring an impasse in the talks, which have been going on for 10 months.
Teachers are seeking a 4.5 percent raise over two years. They also said they pulled their proposal off the table for the district to pay more toward health care benefits in a bid to reach an agreement.
District officials said they offered teachers a 2.5 percent ongoing raise, plus an
So far, no agreement has been reached on any articles in the contract. After rallying Tuesday outside City Hall, teachers and their supporters marched into the City Council Chambers, filling it to standing-room-only. Protesters carried signs demanding respect for teachers, and some teachers sat in a second room to watch the board meeting.
Teachers haven't had a raise since 2008. The school district's proposals can be viewed online at on the "Labor Negotiations" tab at http://www.alameda.k12.ca.us. Details on what teachers have offered is available at https://sites.google.com/site/alamedaea/home.
Staff writer Peter Hegarty contributed to this article.