As teachers in Chula Vista continue to negotiate a new contract, members met this week and authorized a strike vote if necessary.
Manuel Yvellez, president of the teachers’ union Chula Vista Educators, said 95 percent of members that cast a vote authorized a strike if necessary and 93 percent agreed to honor a picket line.
The union leader said they are still in the process of negotiations and under the law must go through mediation and fact-finding before any strike can be called.
“Teachers are not happy,” Yvellez said. “This vote was the biggest in memory with over 85 percent of members participating.”
The union has rejected the district’s proposal of a 2 percent salary increase on schedule for 2013-14 and a 2 percent off schedule one-time payment for 2013-14.
Teachers are also upset that the district plans to use grant money to hire administrative staff and not educators.
The district has said it will go into deficit spending if they meet the union’s asks.
"We value and appreciate our teachers. We are still in the negotiations process," the district said in a statement to NBC 7 Wednesday. "We are hopeful that with the help of a mediator we will come to a settlement with the teachers' bargaining group. It also is important to understand that teachers cannot legally strike while we are in this process."
In addition, students are on summer break, and classes resume for the 2014-15 school year in late July.
The main sticking points in negotiations are salaries and health care.
The district is offering a 2 percent increase to the salary schedule and a 2 percent one-time bonus. It is also offering to increase the amount the district contributes to employee health care coverage by $1,000, which would be an approximate $8,500 cap on the amount paid out per employee.
The union’s counter offer is a 5 percent salary schedule increase for the 2013-2014 school year, and an additional 5 percent salary increase for the 2014-2015 school year. The approximately 1,000-member union wants to cap health care contributions at $10,000.