LBUSD teachers negotiate raise, including a retroactive pay boost

It’s been a whirlwind year for Long Beach Unified School District teachers, who have gone from fearing layoffs to recently reaching a tentative agreement for raises.

When the school year began, the LBUSD—which employs over 12,000 people—was talking about cuts, but waves of relief funding from the federal and state level changed that picture.

Now, as the 2020-21 school year draws to a close, the district and the Teachers Association of Long Beach have struck a deal that includes a 2% raise as long as it receives final approval.

The district and the TALB negotiating team reached the tentative agreement last week, and it was approved by TALB’s executive board on Tuesday. The agreement will now go to TALB membership for a vote from April 14 to 16. If they approve, it will be up for formal approval by the LBUSD Board of Education at their April 17 meeting.

“As we start a hopeful new chapter in our school district’s long and proud history, these tentative agreements allow us to remain fiscally responsible while still providing tangible support to our employees, many of whom have endured one of the most difficult years of their lives,” said LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker in her bargaining update.

Jill Baker, Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent, talks to the media on the first day of in-person school at Alvarado Elementary School in Signal Hill Monday, March 29, 2021. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

In addition to the raise going forward, teachers will also receive a one-time “retro check” that reflects the raise retroactively to the start of last school year.

In her letter to membership, TALB President Christine Kelly said the union had been in the process of negotiating the new deal since the start of last school year.

“There have been at least 25 bargaining sessions over the last 18 months,” she wrote. “It has been a long, tough road and they’ve appreciated your support through it all.”

The tentative agreement can be read in full here.

While teachers are the most commonly recognized part of the LBUSD workforce, and while TALB is the largest union in the city, teachers only represent about half of the district’s employees. Many others belong to the Long Beach chapter of the California School Employees Association, representing classified staff that includes nutrition workers, custodians, maintenance workers, and others. The LBUSD is still in the process of negotiating its new deal with the CSEA employees, but Baker said she expects they’ll receive raises as well.

“For employees who are not represented by TALB, we will strive to uphold our tradition of parity on pay increases as we move forward, including as we continue to negotiation with CSEA,” she wrote.

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