Contact Vicki Soderberg at 949-463-6951 or Bill Guy at 619-709-0028
ALISO VIEJO – “Capistrano teachers have drawn a line to protect our schools and our profession, and sometimes that line is a picket line,” said Capistrano Unified Education Association President Vicki Soderberg, announcing the overwhelming 87 percent thumb’s up from Capistrano Unified School District’s 2,200 teachers in the April 15-16 vote.
With 85 percent of eligible teachers casting ballots, 1,600 CUEA members voted “yes” and 248 voted “no.” The vote does not compel an immediate strike. Instead, it authorizes CUEA’s Executive Board to initiate one if the CUSD Board of Education refuses to revoke its unilaterally imposed contract of permanent, over-the-top cuts in wages and benefits totaling more than ten percent.
“A strike has never been what teachers wanted,” said Soderberg, “but this thundering strike authorization vote – with teachers at many school sites voting 100 percent in favor – shows just how fed up we are with this board’s harsh, dictatorial behavior and duplicitous tactics.” The Capistrano board’s permanent cuts go well beyond the mutually-selected neutral fact finder’s reasonable settlement recommendation. They also exceed those in settlements agreed to by teacher groups and school boards throughout Orange County.
“We are so grateful that Capistrano’s parents and students understand that a short-term disruption of school is worth the fight for long-term stability in the district,” said Soderberg. As reported April 15 on the Capistrano Unified School District’s website, approximately 10,000 students – or about one out of every five – boycotted school attendance on April 13 in a parent-led protest of school board actions. “How can we teach our students to stand up to unfair, bullying behavior, if we’re not willing to walk the walk ourselves? There are life lessons that can’t be taught by a test. It is so heartwarming to know that parents and students understand the school board is forcing this action upon us and them.”
“Teachers always have been and still are ready and willing to negotiate,” said Soderberg. Despite their vague pronouncements promising to “entertain discussion,” the board knows full well that it is their March 31 unilateral imposition that forced teachers to the brink, and that the imposition has to be part of any bargaining conversation. It’s time for the Capistrano school board to stop browbeating teachers, to stop disrespecting students and parents, to stop engaging in deception and intimidation, and get back to the bargaining table if they want to avert a strike. As previously stated, the teachers do not want to strike, but this vote emphatically demonstrates that we’re ready to take a stand.