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Cotati-Rohnert Park teachers vote to authorize strike

Hundreds of unionized teachers with the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District are prepared to strike if they can’t reach an agreement with district officials over contract negotiations, union representatives said Wednesday.

Members of the Rohnert Park-Cotati Educators Association voted this month to authorize a strike if the contract bargaining process ends without an agreement.

The union represents about 98% of the more than 400 teachers in the district, according to union president Denise Tranfaglia, a teacher at Rancho Cotate High School.

More than 90% of the union’s members voted to authorize the strike during a weeklong electronic voting process that ended Nov. 9, Tranfaglia said.

The vote came after a failed mediation process last month between the union and the district, which has six elementary schools, two middle schools, a K-8 school, a high school, a magnet school and two charter schools. About 6,000 students in Cotati and Rohnert Park attend those schools.

The union is seeking higher wages for its members this school year and a multi-year plan for teacher salaries, according to Tranfaglia.

The district has offered a 2% pay bump for teachers this year, but the union wants a higher raise, Tranfaglia said. She declined to specify an exact amount that union representatives would accept.

A strike would likely happen early next year at the soonest, according to Tranfaglia.

It would be “the last-ditch effort” for union members, she said. “Nobody wants to strike, but we’re listening to our members that are having a really hard time making ends meet.”

District officials did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Wednesday.

You can reach Staff Writer Matt Pera at matthew.pera@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.

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