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Glendale Unified nears deal with teacher union on furlough days

Furlough days may be deferred as both sides get set to tackle thorny issue of health insurance.

June 05, 2012|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com
(Roger Wilson/Staff…)

Bargaining teams for Glendale Unified School District and its teachers union are expected to finalize a deal this week that would defer five unpaid furlough days scheduled for 2012-13.

District officials said they expect to put the agreement in writing during a meeting scheduled for Thursday. In April, the Glendale Teachers Assn. had rejected an identical proposal — which defers the furlough days to 2013-14 — asking instead that two of the five days be eliminated outright and three be deferred.

“The district negotiating team was surprised and gratified to receive this proposal from [the union], as the district has been making this proposal for some time,” Assistant Supt. for Human Resources David Samuelson said in a statement.

Union President Tami Carlson described it as a “huge concession” driven in part by her team's desire to reach a resolution before opening negotiations on a potentially more difficult fight — health insurance.

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“From our perspective, we don't want to be negotiating a hard cap the same time we are negotiating the furlough days,” said Carlson, referring to a forthcoming proposal from the district to limit what it will contribute to employee health coverage.

Last year, Glendale Unified and teacher union leaders spent months wrangling over seven furlough days scheduled for 2011-12 and 2012-13. In January, just eight days shy of the first scheduled teacher furlough days, the parties announced that two of the 2011-12 furlough days were eliminated, while a third was deferred to 2012-13, bringing the total for that year to five.

Now, district and union officials say, the fate of the 2013-14 furlough days rest in large part on the outcome of tax initiatives that go before California voters in November.

If those pass, the furlough days could be eliminated.

“It has been the district's aim all along to keep the agreed furlough days as an option to avoid layoffs during the continuing period of budget uncertainty,” Samuelson said.

“It has been our consistent goal to defer agreed furlough days into future years in hopes they will never have to be used. The continuing state budget crisis prevents us from rescinding all the dates.”

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