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 firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.