Rohnert Park Cotati educators win tentative agreement

After six intense days on the picket line, the Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association (RPCEA) won a tentative agreement yesterday, ending their strike and returning to classrooms today.

The agreement, which will be voted on by the 320 members of the RPCEA, provides for a 14.6% increase over three years: a staggered and timely salary increase of 6% this year, 5% next year and 3.6% in 2023-2024. RPCEA members will also receive an out-of-program bonus of $2,000 this year and a bonus of $1,000 next year.

“We believe this agreement is a monumental change for our district that will put teachers first in the budget,” RPCEA said in a post on its Facebook page.

The agreement came after six days of solidarity on the picket lines by the Rohnert Park-Cotati community who kept up the pressure on school district management to do the right thing.

“I think we’re all in a bit of a shock right now,” RPCEA Vice President Lisa Bauman said. told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on St. Patrick’s Day. “We had the luck of the Irish with us today!

Once approved, the new contract will help improve the retention and recruitment of quality educators for the schools that Rohnert Park Cotati students deserve. RPCEA educators were paid nearly 20% less than the state average, leading a state-appointed neutral investigator to recommend the 14.6% raise.

The strike has become a community-wide movement, with parents keeping their children at home in solidarity and joining educators on the picket line, as well as members of other CTA locals and other unions , like SEIU and the Teamsters. The CTA Board also joined RPCEA, bringing the love and energy of CTA’s 310,000 members to the streets of Rohnert Park and Cotati.

“Thank you for the overwhelming outpouring of support,” RPCEA posted on Facebook. “We will come out of this stronger!”

While RPCEA members are relieved the strike is over, there will be impacts for educators who have gone without pay for the past six days. Please consider donating to RPCEA Strike Fund to support these educators who stood in solidarity with each other and their students.

Andrew B. Reiter