Lucia Mar teachers union paves way for possible strike

Members of the Lucia Mar Unified School District teachers union paved the way Thursday for a possible strike in the wake of the most recent round of contract negotiations with the district, the union announced Saturday.

Lucia Mar Unified Teachers Association members voted Thursday to authorize the union’s executive board to call a strike if a contract settlement is not reached and the district sticks with its most recent offer, according to a news release.

Also on Thursday, the union and the California Teachers Association filed unfair labor practice charges with the state Public Employment Relations Board against the district, the news release said.

Lucia Mar teachers have been working without a contract since their last one expired June 30. They had been seeking a 10 percent pay raise, to take effect in the 2015-16 school year.

Throughout most of the negotiations, the district has held firm at a 2 percent offer for the 2014-15 school year.

Following mediation on Wednesday, however, Superintendent Jim Hogeboom said the district upped its offer to 6 percent over three school years: a 2 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2014; 1 percent to take effect on July 1, 2015; 2 percent to take effect on March 1, 2016; and 1 percent effective Jan. 1, 2017.

The union, which represents about 580 teachers in San Luis Obispo County’s largest school district, declined the offer.

A fact-finding report is expected to be released between Monday and Wednesday. The two sides will then meet for a likely final negotiation session.

A strike would take place once both sides have exhausted all negotiation attempts.

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