District, labor partners reach tentative health and welfare deal

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 19, 2018) - The Los Angeles Unified School District has reached a tentative health and welfare agreement with its eight labor partners – which represent our 12 bargaining units – that will cover calendar years 2018, 2019 and 2020.

This agreement still must be approved by the Board of Education and ratified by the unions.

"We are grateful to the District’s team and our labor partners for their hard work in reaching this three-year agreement," said Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian. "It provides stability and is good for our students, employees and the community."

“We thank our partners for working with us to reach this significant agreement,” said Board President Mónica García. “It is important to note that we will not be increasing our yearly health care spending levels. We have also built in incentives that encourage everyone to look for additional ways to tackle our unfunded medical liability. Overall, this agreement is an important step in addressing our financial challenges."

“This agreement does not go far enough in addressing the financial crisis looming over L.A. Unified’s future,” said Board Vice President Nick Melvoin. “It is possible to work through this process in a way that puts kids first and ensures that our teachers and employees have the very best benefits possible. We are at least taking a small step in the right direction, but if we do not take on our current debts and future liabilities in a serious way, it is our kids who will suffer as their class sizes get bigger and their art, music, and even science classes get cut.”

“We appreciate all of the work that staff has invested to reach this important tentative agreement with our labor partners,” said Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III. “Our employees, represented by the bargaining units, are the lifeblood of this District and are integral to the delivery of effective teaching and learning for all students.”

“I applaud this tentative agreement and thank both our L.A. Unified staff and our labor partners for their much appreciated work on this matter,” said Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson. “This agreement is a testament to our District's ability to take responsible actions to honor their promises to employees while also continuing to provide a quality, public education for all children.”

“This agreement is a step toward solving a critical issue,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez. “It is vital that we provide our current employees the benefits the District promised to them while also being fiscally responsible. Now that we have taken this first step, we must continue to work with partners to find a long-term solution.”

"This tentative agreement strikes an important balance between continuing to support our hardworking employees, while helping to ensure greater fiscal stability for the school district,” said Board Member Kelly Gonez. “I am grateful for the hard work of our District staff, as well as our labor partners, for reaching this agreement."

“I want to thank our negotiators and our labor partners for coming to terms for the next three years,” said Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic. “Now, more than ever, it is critical that we strive to educate our students to the best of our abilities, ensure our employees have their financial needs met, and the fiscal health of the District is preserved. We now have three years to deal – once and for all – with our other post-employment benefits (OPEB) issue.”

Key points of the tentative agreement include:

  • The District’s contribution will remain at 2017 levels for each of the three years of the agreement.
  •  Any amount in excess of $100 million in the health care reserves as of Dec. 31, 2020, will be returned to the District's General Fund.
  •  If the health care reserves are below $100 million on Dec. 31, 2020, the District will replenish to the $100 million level if the unions, through the Health Benefits Committee, achieve a $200 million reduction in unfunded retiree medical care liability during the life of the agreement and do not make the health plans more expensive. Projections indicate that there should be more than a $100 million reserve level on Dec. 31, 2020.
  •  A committee will be formed to study ways to reduce the District's unfunded retiree medical care liability, and to explore ways to reduce spending on health care as a percentage of the District's total budget. 

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