Students and teachers gathered together for the walk-in on Friday, March 29 as part of an ongoing demonstration to fight for fair contracts for FUSD teachers.
Beginning 30 minutes before school started, the walk-in began near the Mission marquee, with teachers and students lined up on the Mission Blvd. sidewalk, and concluded at the top of the horseshoe. Walk-in participants held red-colored signs that read, “We Stand With Fremont Educators.” They also alternated between two chants: “Get up, get down, give Fremont teachers COLA (Cost of Living Adjustments) now,” and “What do we want? Fair contract. When do we want it? Now.”
Teachers from all over MSJ come together for district-wide walk-in on March 29.
Fremont Unified District Teachers Association (FUDTA) representatives meet monthly and have held walk-ins every Friday morning. According to FUDTA Representative Peter Geschke, the FUDTA Organizing Committee focused on involving other members of the community, notably students. Geschke said, “We hope that we can get to the point, where the district can treat us seriously at the bargaining table and recognize that we have a fair offer and will settle for a fair contract.”
Students from Student Rise, a coalition of teacher-student advocacy at each FUSD high school, collaborated to organize and publicize the walk-in after they heard about the possibility of a strike. MSJ Student RISE Vice President Sophomore Alvin Lee said, “The main thing we want to accomplish is spreading awareness, so people know the importance teachers play in our community on a daily basis.” Student RISE will be holding a statewide march in Sacramento this fall with the California Teachers Association and various local teacher unions.
Students join teachers in holding up red signs that read, “We Stand With Fremont Educators.”
According to past FUDTA representative Alberta Dallabetta Erwin, there had been two teacher strikes during the 42 years that she taught at FUSD — the first strike lasted three weeks, and the second strike lasted one week.
Erwin said, “I’m proud of the Mission teachers for standing up, because this is the only way to get the school district to know. The district is expecting more and more from teachers every day in doing work outside of the classroom, and they aren’t paid for putting in extra time … They are asking them to do more and giving them less.”
Students and teachers line up together along Mission Blvd. for the 30-minute walk-in.
According to The Mercury News, the district and the teachers union have reached a “fact-finding” phase, where a neutral arbitrator reviews evidence from both parties on contract negotiations. According to FUDTA president Victoria Birbeck-Herrera, there will be a hearing on April 4, where fact-finder Najeeb Khoury will present his report to both parties.