Now that LA Unified and UTLA have agreed that they can’t agree, they’re headed for mediation later this month.
The state Public Employment Relations Board has assigned a mediator to accomplish in three sessions what the two sides were unable to do in 18 meetings over seven months: negotiate a long-overdue contact for the 35,000-member teachers union.
The dates of the sessions are set: March 26, April 6, and April 15. But they could extend beyond that window, an official with PERB told LA School Report today. She said it’s conceivable that it could take “much longer.”
“The mediator’s job is to keep the parties engaged in discussions until they reach an agreement,” she said.
Only the mediator can determine that the two sides are unable to reach a resolution. If that happens, she explained, negotiation cease, triggering a “Fact Finding” process in which each side is required to produce records and data that bolster its bargaining position.
Some district officials have speculated the teachers union is biding its time until May when the governor will present his revised budget, often called “the May revise.” The California Legislative Analyst’s Office has projected a boost of $2 billion in anticipated revenues, which is good news for teachers who have been told repeatedly that the district doesn’t have the money for a bigger pay raise.