Education Lab

Fresno Unified teachers can’t strike until after new January deadline

Fresno Unified teachers and families can breathe a sigh of relief – until at least Jan. 18.

That’s the date a neutral, outside party will make its recommendation for the next steps that the school district and teachers union should take after more than a year of negotiations over issues including teacher salary and benefits, class size and student discipline.

Fresno Unified announced Wednesday that the leaders of the “fact-finding” process – which started earlier this month – extended the deadline for the report “given the number of articles at issue.”

“We hope that FUSD will see this time as a way to reach an agreement to avoid a strike,” the Fresno Teachers Association said in a Facebook post. “As we have said, we will not strike until all legally mandated steps in the negotiations process have been completed, and still no fair and balanced agreement has been reached.”

Teachers voted to authorize FTA to strike in October, but that can’t legally happen until the fact-finding report is released. Then, both sides will have a chance to decide whether they will adhere to the recommendations or move forward with a strike.

“This means we will NOT strike before the end of this semester. So please try and enjoy these final two weeks of classes and have a wonderful and safe Winter Break!” FTA said in its Facebook post.

While Fresno Unified superintendent Bob Nelson has welcomed the fact-finding process, saying the district will follow whatever recommendations are given, FTA president Tish Rice has accused him of “relinquishing his power to an outside person who has no idea what’s going on in Fresno Unified.”

Mackenzie Mays: 559-441-6412, @MackenzieMays