Growing Political Support for Our Organizing
Apr 20 2015
A month ago this week, we publicly announced that we are forming our union. Since then, we have seen more and more of our colleagues, across school sites, join with us to have a collective and effective voice in the decision making processes that determine our students’ learning environment and our working environment.
A significant number of elected leaders, community leaders, religious leaders, and community organizations have publicly declared support for us and called on Alliance to support our right to organize without interference, influence, and coercion. More recent letters of support have come from:
- US Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congressional District 37 (click here)
- US Congresswoman Janice Hahn, Congressional District 44 (click here)
- CA State Assemblyperson Mike Gipson, 64th District (click here)
- CA State Assemblyperson, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, 59th District (click here)
- CA State Assemblyperson, Autumn Burke, 62nd District (click here)
- Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance (BCCLA) (click here)
To see the full list of the fifteen community leaders and organizations that have sent letters of support for our efforts to Alliance’s CEO and Board of Directors, click here.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How many educators at independent charter schools are already in UTLA?
Over 1,000 teachers, counselors, and health and human service professionals are already in UTLA at the following charter schools:
- Birmingham Community Charter HS
- Granada Hills Charter HS
- Montague Charter Academy
- Apple Academy Public Charter Schools
- Palisades Charter HS
- Pacoima Charter Elementary
- Global Education Academy
- The Accelerated Schools
- Ivy Academia Entrepreneurial Charter School
- El Camino Real Charter HS
How does having a union give us a voice in decision-making?
Organizing our union will give us the ability to collectively bargain the issues we decide are important to our students and our profession. As educators, we will be able to bring our professional judgment and direct classroom experience to the negotiating table on how to better improve our students’ learning conditions and our working conditions.
What is collective bargaining?
Currently, Alliance ultimately makes all the decisions over our conditions of work. Once we are certified as a union, we have the legal right to collectively bargain to maintain what is working and to improve what needs improving. It means that we, teachers and counselors, have a seat at the table as equal partners with the Alliance to negotiate over our salary, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. Once our union is certified, Alliance cannot implement changes without first negotiating with us.
What do we get to collectively bargain when we have our union?
California state laws guarantee our rights to negotiate conditions of work and economic issues. This includes evaluations, just cause and due process rights, class size, hours of work, compensation, health and welfare benefits, and retirement benefits. In addition, the Alliance is obligated to, at a minimum, consult with the educators about educational objectives, curriculum, selection of textbooks, and more.
How does collective bargaining work?
1. We, Alliance educators, decide as a group what we want to improve through surveys and membership meetings.
2. We, Alliance educators, will elect a team of our colleagues to represent us at the bargaining table. This team will be representative of all grade levels, departments, schools, etc.
3. We hold regular membership meetings where we discuss the status of bargaining and make collective and democratic decisions on how to achieve the improvement we’d like to see.
4. Finally, we vote to ratify a full tentative agreement reached with the Alliance, which if approved by a majority vote of members becomes our union contract.
Can we lose what we already have through bargaining?
In bargaining, we start with what we have now. The only way we can lose something is if we, teachers and counselors at Alliance, agree to accept less than what we have now.
OUR RIGHTS UNDER LAW
- The Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA)guarantees all public school educators, including charter teachers and counselors, extensive rights and protections to organize a union.
- As teachers and counselors, we have the right to form a union, to attend meetings about organizing a union, and to discuss and engage in other activities to advocate for our students and our profession at Alliance.
- As educators, we have the right to discuss forming the union, to meet in break rooms, on school property, or outside of the school. We have the right to sign or ask someone to sign union petitions except while on work time.
- As educators, we can act collectively in presenting our ideas to the administration.
- As educators, we have the right to leaflet and talk with parents and members of the community about our efforts to unionize as long as we are not on duty.
- It is illegal for Alliance management to discriminate, discipline or discharge anyone for union activity. It is also illegal for administration to coerce, interrogate, conduct surveillance or otherwise interfere in our decision to organize a union.
- If you have experienced any coercion, threats, surveillance or interference, or have been interrogated by administration or if you simply have questions, please go to www.allianceeducators.org and fill out the confidential form on the “Contact Us” page.
THE ALLIANCE ANTI-UNION CAMPAIGN AGAINST THEIR OWN TEACHERS
Alliance is not simply sharing information on the question of unionization. While they state that the issue of organizing our union is our decision to make, they have made their opinion perfectly clear: they are opposed to Alliance educators organizing. They have stated their opposition to educators organizing a union in virtually every forum and communication they have had with us. They have set up web pages, given us “Fact Sheets,” sent us emails, had administrators attach anti-union meetings to Professional Development, all while illegally restricting our right to have meetings at our own worksites and blocking our ability to receive email at work. Ultimately the decision to have a union is ours to make. The Alliance should stop running a campaign of coercion and interference against their own educators to try to convince us we don’t need a union.
WHAT WE SEEK
We urge the Alliance to respect our collective decision, to not exercise influence or interference, and to come to an agreement with us for a fair and neutral process to organize our union.
We are proud to be educators at Alliance. We look forward to working together as a community of professional educators with all stakeholders for our students’ and schools’ success.
For our students, our schools and our profession
Alliance Educators United
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