OUR STUDENTS,
OUR SCHOOLS,
OUR PROFESSION

Alliance Admits Anti-Union Campaign in Memo

Apr 24 2015

When we first started organizing our union at the Alliance, the administration told us clearly that they would “support any decision made by the employees to join or not join a union.”

We took them at their word that they would leave this important decision up to us, refrain from pressuring or coercing us, and allow us to exercise our right to organize without interference.

Unfortunately, our trust in the Alliance was misplaced. Recently, we learned of a memo from Alliance’s attorney to school principals advising them on how to dissuade us from coming together as a union.

The internal memo is evidence that rather than respecting the voices and decisions of all educators, the Alliance is engaging in a deliberate and coordinated campaign to try to influence and coerce our decision to organize. The memo advises: “The message should remain focused on the potentially negative effects of UTLA and any union on fulfilling the school’s mission.” It goes into detailed instructions on how to move that “message” to us, the Alliance’s own teachers and counselors, including:

  • “Legal advises one on one conversations…”(page 2)
  • “…feel free to highlight information you think might be useful to them [teachers]. For example, if we know a teacher is concerned about finances, you might say, ‘I was amazed to learn that dues for this union could be about $700 a year.'” (pages 6 and 7)
  • “Principals can and should tell everyone often that we are doing what we can to stop this.”(page 9)
  • “…the goal is no unionization, not which union.”(page 9)
  • “Encouraging them [anti-union teachers] to make their voices heard is important…” (page 9)

 

Perhaps even more disturbing is the direction the Alliance has given to administrators to try to create a divide between parents and those of us who support organizing a union:

  • “…unions are probably something a lot of our parents are sympathetic to…they would be likely to ‘support our teachers’…The best way to preempt that is to start reaching out now to parent leaders to educate them on this issue.”(page 8)

 

This is only the latest evidence of what we’ve known for some time now: The Alliance’s corporate leadership does not want us to have a voice, and is pushing an aggressive anti-union campaign to prevent us from gaining one.

This isn’t just relevant to us as educators. There are many Alliance parents who would be surprised to learn that the Alliance went back on its word and is using pressure tactics to silence us. There are also many local elected officials and community leaders who would be equally disappointed.

That’s why this morning, we had a press conference in front of Smidt Tech High School, accompanied by elected leaders, community allies, an Alliance parent, and even the valedictorian of the first graduating class at Stern MASS, all standing with us to urge the Alliance to let us make this decision for ourselves, without the undue influence of Alliance corporate executives and administrators.

We’re organizing a union at the Alliance to make our schools even better at educating our students, and even fairer places to work. We’re proud of our collective effort to create this positive change and regardless of the Alliance’s inappropriate and illegal campaign to influence our decision, we will continue to exercise our right to organize our union. We invite the Alliance to have faith in our judgment and to respect our choice.

—Alliance Educators United

 

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