The California Staff Organization (CSO) and the California Associate Staff (CAS) want the California Teachers Association (CTA) to come back to the bargaining table and resolve issues regarding funding of the employees’ pension benefits. CTA has refused to set any bargaining dates until November.
The sides have been bargaining since May when they decided the plan was in the “red zone.” Pension funds are in the “red zone” when the plan is paying out more than what is coming in and there is a projected shortfall. Fixing the red zone issue has been the primary bargaining goal before the situation becomes more serious.
Several years ago, the same problem was resolved with a combination of an increased employer contribution and a redirection of some 401k contributions to the pension fund. While CTA seems willing to accept a similar solution, it is also insisting on a reduction in pension benefits and inserting contract language that would block union efforts in future red zone situations. CSO and CAS don’t agree that those steps to weaken the pension plan are necessary.
Chuck King, CSO President, said, “We’ve made proposals that we think will fix the problem. We’re just anxious to get back to the table and get that done.”
The unions believe CTA is stalling until after the November election because of a school funding measure on the ballot. Getting that measure passed will require staff help.
King said, “We’re not asking CTA for better benefits; we just want to secure our benefits under the existing plan. We need a solution to the red zone issue now so we can all focus on the campaign. Delaying will only make the solution more expensive. CTA should make this issue a priority and return to the bargaining table.”
In an effort to get CTA back to the table before November, CSO and CAS held an informational picket this week. Check out www.calstaff.org on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for coverage of the event.