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California town takes employment contract dispute public

In many ways, teachers, school boards and parents are equal partners in the education of a city's youth. When a decision is made to air an employment contract dispute out in the open, then that partnership could be damaged. Recently, one California city made this decision.

Parents were notified via electronic mail that the Sacramento City Teachers Association is allegedly working against the city's effort to resolve an ongoing contract dispute. A city official claimed that parents were notified of the dispute in an effort to support the city's policy to be upfront about management issues. However, the teachers embroiled in the dispute expressed disapproval and frustration that officials would involve parents in the months-long disagreement.

Officials informed parents that the upcoming school year could be disrupted if the union continued to thwart the city's efforts to settle the contract stalemate. Along with the email notice, the city posted a copy of the letter on its social media page. The letter was later removed when the public discourse became less than civilized. The teachers' union has requested that the city fund more elective arts classes and that class size be reduced as well as led by a fully accredited teacher. City officials maintain that it lacks the funds required to meet such requests from the union as well as the requested pay increase.

The school board purportedly supports the actions of the city, which has sent a follow-up letter to parents. A communication expert has denounced the actions of the city and claimed the letter may have the opposite effect on parents. It is unclear whether the two sides are making progress in resolving this employment contract dispute or if the upcoming academic year will be negatively impacted. These teachers -- like all California workers caught in a similar situation -- are entitled to seek further assistance in finding a palatable solution to these issues.

Source: sacbee.com, "Sacramento City Unified sends out letter that riles teachers", Richard Chang, June 23, 2017

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