FCF Media Team

Stockton Unified Teachers Rally For Fair Pay

Yellow Line

In a bold display of unity and determination, teachers from Stockton Unified School District gathered en masse at the board meeting on March 12, 2024, signaling a growing discontent over issues of pay and working conditions. This act of solidarity, initiated by Edison Chemistry and Avid teacher Maikou Vang, sought to demonstrate the collective resolve of educators demanding fair compensation and respect from the administration.

Vang, in an email to fellow teachers dated March 7, urged attendance at upcoming board meetings as a peaceful yet powerful demonstration of "unity, organization, communication, and ability to mobilize." Vang proposed a brief but impactful presence, suggesting that even a 10-20 minute stand could send a "immensely impressive and powerful message."

The sentiment among teachers is one of readiness for more drastic action if necessary. Chris Rothrock, a social science teacher at Stagg High School, stated plainly, "If there were to ever have a strike I would immediately walk out.” Similarly, Anthony Lee, a World History teacher at Stagg and a member of the Stockton Teachers Association (STA), emphasized the importance of solidarity. Lee articulated a belief in strength in numbers, underlining the unity within the teachers' ranks: "If it got to the point in that, we’re all doing it together, it’s not where one teacher is left behind."

Justin McGehee, a Sophomore English Teacher at Stagg and chair of the STA negotiations team, highlighted the underlying tensions between management and labor, exacerbated by the pandemic and financial concerns. McGehee stressed the teachers' desire for fair negotiation without resorting to disruptive demands. The peaceful nature of the board meeting turnout, involving around 300 STA employees, underscored this approach, focusing on negotiation rather than confrontation.

The rallying of Stockton Unified's teachers at the board meeting was not just a call for better pay; it was a demonstration of the educators' commitment to their profession and their community. "We want to keep people here but it’s up to the district," McGehee summarized, voicing a collective desire for solutions that would enable teachers to continue serving Stockton's students without financial duress.

As the district and teachers navigate these turbulent waters, the unity and voice of Stockton's educators have never been clearer. The coming weeks may be decisive in shaping the future of education in the area, with the community watching closely.

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