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DPS teachers strike is on hold

DPS teachers strike is on hold

DPS teachers strike is on hold
January 31
15:05 2019

AWAITING A DECISION FROM THE COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT

Newsroom/El Comercio de Colorado

The fourteen days established by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to decide whether to intervene in the conflict between Denver Public Schools (DPS) and the Denver Classroom Teacher Association (DCTA) are underway. On January 23rd, DPS requested the intervention of CDLE to stop a teacher strike that would start on January 28th. Ninety-three per cent of the members of DCTA voted to go on strike after negotiations with DPS ended, with no agreement, on January 18th.

DPS teachers can’t go on strike legally before CDLE decides if it will get involved in the negotiation. Online publication “Chalk Beat” cited Cher Haavind, CDLE spokesperson, saying that officials will make a decision by February 11th. If CDLE decides to intervene in the conflict, they will have to take action for negotiations to continue. But under no circumstance, CDLE can impose an agreement on the parties.

While efforts of mediation, arbitration, or conciliation by the CDLE are being made, the DCTA teachers won’t be able to go on strike. However, the strike can only be prevented for a period of 180 days. Henry Román, president of DCTA, asked the CDLE to not intervene and to allow the strike to take place. Román believes their intervention will be useless. According to the union’s leader, delaying the strike would be to support abusive practices by DPS.

Opposing arguments

DPS and the union disagree on how to renew the DPS teacher’s pay structure, also known as ProComp. The union wants DPS to invest more money on the teacher’s base salary. Meanwhile, the district has also supported an increase in salaries; but DPS wants to keep the bonuses to motivate teachers to apply for hard-to-fill positions and schools in low-income areas. The union alleges that relying on bonuses makes the teacher’s income unpredictable.

When negotiations collapsed, DCTA was asking the district to add 28 million dollars to the budget, for teacher’s pay. DPS was offering to add 20 million. DCTA spokespeople considered that an offensive proposal. DPS believes the strike will negatively impact the students, parents, and teachers, and they presented those arguments to the CDLE when they requested their intervention.

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