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Calexico teachers threaten strike

Associated Calexico Teachers
Associated Calexico Teachers

Demands for pay raise date back to June 9 - News 11's Wiley Jawhary reports

CALEXICO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - Teachers from the Associated Calexico Teachers (ACT) say they are ready to strike if that's what it takes to get more money.

A new study from the ACT shows 91% of union members would support a strike if negotiations failed. ACT emphasizes it hopes a strike won't be necessary.

Calexico teachers have been demanding a pay raise since June 9. The school district did offer educators a 14% increase, however, teachers say they feel offended by this. They say it's simply not sufficient.

According to ACT, 8% is off schedule which means a one-time payment which is not a “raise”.

ACT says that 6% is on schedule which is ongoing and is considered a raise distributed over a 6 year period.

Both the ACT and the Calexico Unified School District (CSUD) remain hopeful an agreement can be reached. However, time is running out, the school year starts August 23.

“At this point, we are very far away from reaching the point of a strike,” CUSD Board of Trustees President, Ciro Calderon said.

Teachers from other districts who support ACT say a strike would be the last resort.

Daniel Nuñez is a high school teacher in Imperial County who supports Calexico teachers. He hopes a strike is not the end result, however.

"I think every teacher would avoid the strike, because at that point so many people are being hurt, including students," Nuñez said.

It's been four years since Calexico teachers got their last raise. They say they're low on patience. They feel it's important their voices be heard.

In addition to more pay, teachers want to see benefits included as part of the total compensation package. All in hopes of recruiting more qualified teachers to the valley.

“Right now given the fact that insurance costs a lot, if you look around in Imperial County, we are the only district that offers full insurance policies for employees,” Calderon said.

ACT and the school district will meet again on August 11 to continue negotiations.

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Wiley Jawhary

Wiley Jawhary is from Orange County California. He joined KYMA/KSWT in April of 2021.

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