Union

Alpine Teachers to Strike, Beginning Feb. 20

Alpine Teachers Association members will go out in an Unfair Labor Practice strike, beginning at 6:00 a.m., February 20, as the result of a decision made at yesterday's general membership meeting.

Although ATA members were hopeful that the district would return to the bargaining table with fair, reasonable settlement proposals, they were met instead with a rehash of the same offer the district had made in a previous proposal rejected by ATA members on February 5: a 7.58% salary cut and an $8,000 health benefits cap effective January 1, 2014, that will leave many ATA members with 30% or more less per year in total compensation. Because the district will extract double health benefits cuts for May and June, some members will receive NO pay in those months.

“Unfortunately, the district is intent on building their reserve fund and breaking teachers’ backs financially, based on faulty financial assumptions,” said ATA President Gayle Malone. “Ultimately, it is the students and the entire community who will suffer.” 

 

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Trial Underway for Meritless Lawsuit Targeting Teachers' Rights

The Vergara trial attacking due process for teachers facing dismissal, seniority/experience-factored layoffs, and the two-year probationary period began in Los Angeles this morning. After plaintiff attorneys opened by previewing a case they claim will show these teacher rights are unconstitutional, attorneys for the State of California, as well as attorneys for intervening parties CTA and CFT laid out strong arguments for why their case would show that the plaintiffs claims are completely without merit, and that these laws actually provide students with a quality, stable teaching force.

Students Matter, the shadowy organization behind this lawsuit, did not let a weak case stop them from pulling out all the stops for a huge noon press conference. Silicon Valley billionaire David Welch and lead attorneys and case plaintiffs all addressed the media, trying to make a case, where, frankly, there is none. Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin was on hand to lend support, showing the connection between some of the same groups of anti-union corporate education "reformers" and this case. Fortunately CFT President Josh Pechthalt and CTA Board members Leslie Littman and Toby Boyd were there to give educators a voice and to tell our side of this story.

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Alpine Teachers Association Strike Fund Growing

Delegates to the California Teachers Association's State Council meeting in Los Angeles swelled the Alpine Teachers Association's strike fund by over $20,000 this weekend alone (January 25-26, 2014) in a flurry of union solidarity with their San Diego County colleagues.

CTA chapters and individual members from throughout California matched other donations or raised the ante to provide support for Alpine teachers should they have to walk picket lines. Chapter contributions include $1,000 from the San Jose Teachers Association, $2,000 from United Educators of San Francisco, and $5,000 from the San Diego Education Association. Once CTA's over 1,000 chapters and 325,000 individual members have opportunity to join in the drive, the potential for additional financial support is exponential.

Alpine Teachers Association members voted overwhelmingly to give their executive board authority to call for a strike. They did so in response to draconian salary and benefits cuts callously imposed by the Alpine Unified School District Board of Education.

A significant number of ATA members will be financially crippled by losing up to 35 percent of their annual compensation. "None of us want to strike," said ATA President Gayle Malone, "but the board's punitive imposition leaves us no viable alternative if they persist in failing to bargain with us fairly."

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Hundreds attend Alpine School Board meeting to support teachers

Alpine TA board meetingExcept for the part when the school board unanimously approved the imposition that, if stands, could cut almost half of Alpine teachers’ compensation by more than 30 percent, last night’s board meeting, with almost 300 people in attendance, was a raucous, one-sided diatribe in support of Alpine Teachers Association members. 

Members, parents and community supporters verbally eviscerated Superintendent Tom Pellegrino and the school board, at times tearfully poignant, at other times stridently caustic. Teachers cited the inevitability of losing their homes, being unable to continue support for children in college and keeping insurance for critically ill and handicapped children. One part-time, job-share teacher with considerable experience and an advanced degree said she would be making only minimum wage should the imposition stand. Parents, who significantly recognized that what hurts teachers ultimately hurts their children, promised to honor a strike, with one even saying that they would permanently transfer their children to other surrounding districts should a job action occur.

San Diego Channel 10 news covered the event, and this clip that aired gives a snapshot of the almost three-hour board meeting.


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Even the Grinch can’t believe the Alpine school district’s plan to impose drastic cuts right before Christmas

Alpine Teachers AssociationEven the Grinch can’t believe the Alpine Unified School District plans to cut the salary and benefits of almost half of Alpine’s educators by 32 percent right before Christmas. 

That’s why he’ll be joining Alpine Teachers Association (ATA) members, parents, students, community members and fellow CTA members throughout San Diego County at a rally to protest the Alpine Unified School District’s plan to impose draconian salary and benefits cuts in a special board meeting that will begin at 5pm tonight. Get directions.

Although ATA accepted a fact finder’s recommendation for a fair settlement, the district rejected the proposal last Friday, announcing its determination to ram through its outrageous demands: an $8,000 health benefits cap and a 7.85 percent cut in salary.

Out of 43 San Diego County districts, Alpine’s teachers are already next to last in salary. Despite the district’s outrageous claims and demands, Alpine members are resolved to hold out for a fair contract settlement.

“The district seems intent on diverting attention away from its own culpability of inaccurate budget projections and unwise, unnecessary spending, by scapegoating teachers and crippling us financially," said ATA President Gayle Malone. "But Alpine’s teachers care too much about our students, the community and our profession to stand by while the district damages the town’s ability to provide quality education for its students.” 

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CTA Honored with LAANE City of Justice Award

Dean Vogel and Kamala HarrisCTA is honored to have been recognized for our 150 years of advocacy on behalf of California’s educators and students by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) at its City of Justice Awards Gala last night. 

“It takes all of us working together to make change. The fight for good paying jobs, for economic justice, for a healthy environment and for quality public schools can only be won when we work together," said CTA President Dean Vogel, speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 political activists. Dean was introduced by State Attorney General Kamala Harris (photo right).

In its 20 years, LAANE has been a progressive voice in creating a more equitable and just society. Our common goals have served to raise awareness about the necessity of a quality education, good jobs, and healthy communities. We’re proud to stand with LAANE in its ongoing commitment to civil rights and economic justice.

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Sweetwater EA Stands Up to 11th-hour Change in Health Benefits

Sweetwater Education Association members Sweetwater Education Association members in San Diego County face an eleventh hour change in the district contribution to health benefits that could cost them in excess of $3,000. Superintendent Ed Brand presented the new bargaining proposal on October 7, three weeks before open enrollment was set to begin, threatening to impose the change if SEA does not accept it. 

“The district is trying to unethically use benefits as a way to extract concessions during current contract negotiations,” said SEA President Roberto Rodriguez, adding that the move would hit SEA families hard.

Kicking into gear, SEA’s organizing team coordinated a “Trunk or Treat” rally in the district office parking lot before a school board meeting, with teachers bringing their children to collect treats from the trunks of SEA members’ cars. Pizza was provided for an estimated 600 attendees. “We wanted to demonstrate that SEA knows how to treat our families,” said Helen Farias, SEA organizing chair.

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Shadowy Koch Brothers network fined for money laundering to silence union voices

What goes around comes around. Last week the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) held a much anticipated press conference to share the news that the secret $11 million donation to the NO on Prop 30 / Yes on Prop 32 campaigns was in fact money laundering via the "Koch Brothers Network of dark money political nonprofit corporations".

"This case highlights the nationwide scourge of dark money non-profit networks hiding identities of their contributors,” said Ann Ravel outgoing FPPC Chair.

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Making a difference for 150 years

The inspiring, caring commitment and dedication of California’s educators over the 150 years of CTA’s advocacy for students and public education is highlighted in a statewide television and radio ad campaign launched today.

The back-to-school ad campaign, which runs through October 8, includes Bay Area and Sacramento educators, continuing he this year’s CTA’s 150th anniversary celebration and the union’s dedication to student learning and the teaching profession.

Take a look:

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CTA Members Speak Out Against Editorial Attacks

This weekend, the San Diego Union Tribune ran a hatchet piece against our union in its Opinion-Editorial section. Along with this, it ran an article by Reformer du Jour Michelle Rhee. At no point did the news outlet ask for our stance or offer a spot to rebut the obviously politically-motivated, unsubstantiated claims. We thank our fearless members who speak up against these attacks and help dispel the myths being pushed out to the pubic.

Below is a response from Sweetwater Education Association member Helen Farias:

As a 2013 SUHSD Teacher of the Year and nominee for San Diego County Teacher of the Year, as well as an active member of Sweetwater Education Association and California Teachers Association, I take strong offense to your portrayal of teachers and their unions. You bash unions for protecting bad teachers, but I know that my union allows exceptional teachers to advocate for their students. Because of union protections, there are teachers in Sweetwater who are challenging one of the most corrupt school boards in the nation...

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