LBUSD, California School Employees Association reach tentative agreement with job-protection provisions

The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) has reached a tentative agreement with the California School Employees Association Long Beach Chapter 2. The agreement, reached during a time of continuing cuts to public education funding statewide, includes job-protection provisions for this fiscal year and the next one. The agreement would provide some job restoration in exchange for five furlough days this year and up to seven furlough days next year, along with other changes to salaries and benefits. For employees working a standard work week, the five furlough days for this school year would be scheduled for Nov. 22 to 24 of 2010, and for March 25 and March 28 of 2011.
Despite the state’s attempt to reduce the amount of education cuts in California’s recently adopted budget, LBUSD must deal with a budget shortfall of more than $50 million in the next two years. The proposed agreement also includes a five-percent contribution toward healthcare costs beginning Jan. 1, 2012, and the suspension of step advancement on the classified salary schedule for this school year and the next one.
The agreement would become final if ratified by the union’s membership and if approved by LBUSD’s Board of Education in the coming weeks.
“I deeply appreciate the willingness of CSEA’s leadership to consider some reasonable compromises during these lean times for public schools,” said LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser.  “I also commend our classified employees, who have waited patiently for bargaining to conclude. The result is a tentative contract that maintains competitive salaries and benefits while helping us to cope with severe budget cuts.”
CSEA represents custodians, maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, groundskeepers, bus and truck drivers, mechanics, instructional assistants, warehouse workers, school support staff and other employees.
Job protections include an agreement not to lay off CSEA members for the remainder of this fiscal year and next fiscal year, with some exceptions.  If the state reduces LBUSD’s funding by $50 or more per pupil, for instance, negotiations may be reopened.
The tentative contract’s job restoration language says LBUSD will restore roughly 36 percent of the remaining CSEA Unit A and Unit B members on a reemployment list who have been laid off since April 19. Unit A includes clerical and support services employees. Unit B includes construction/repair and transportation workers.
An exact number of how many employees would be restored was not immediately available, but the percentage was negotiated as a means of assuring parity with a recently approved contract with the Teachers Association of Long Beach, which resulted in the restoration of 200 positions.
The tentative agreement also includes changes to health benefits, including the elimination of the PacifiCare plan, a change in pharmacy plans and other modifications that will save more than $3 million while still providing employees with competitive benefits.

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