California Educator

June/July 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 41 of 63

without the tension of being on campus," says Rodriguez, a 2009 graduate of DCP. "There was flexibility in response times for teachers to think about our petition and ask questions, and meetings could be held at any time because commuting and location were not an issue." What's best for students Williams says the virtual organizing allowed the team to take a more personable approach with their col- leagues. The committee strategized conversations with co-workers to secure their support and leverage their relationships to build the union effort. Velez says the vir- tual medium was a major benefit, providing safe spaces for educators to ask questions and encourage the free discussion needed to build a movement. "I don't think we would have been able to get a super- majority [of educators signing union cards] without the time and space to talk through things with people," Velez says of the virtual effort, which even drew the attention of the Wall Street Journal. "At the end of the day, we all want to do what's best for our students." When SBEU organizers knew they had the support to file for union recognition, a new COVID-era challenge arose: collecting physical signatures on cards to submit to the state Public Employment Relations Board. Velez says the team took the same strategic approach, mapping out routes to educators' homes and coordinating col- lection of the union cards — complete with precautions to protect everyone's health and safety. "We'd call and say, 'We'll be there in 15 minutes,' and they'd come out and leave the signed card at a safe social distance," Velez says. "It was like DoorDash for unions." In addition to being strong advocates for their students and families, SBEU members are eager to bring their perspectives as charter school educators to discussions in CTA about how best to support and nurture all students. They are excited to have a seat at the table as part of the CTA family. Educators need a voice "Charter school educators also need a voice in campaigns and processes that impact our schools," says Rodriguez. "The fact that so many charter schools have already chosen CTA is indicative of the support that is available for charter school teachers." With the process for recognition of their union underway, SBEU now shifts attention to bargaining their first contract and exer- cising their unified voice to advocate for students, address difficult working condi- tions, and fight for the schools they believe in, all while wading into the unknown of COVID-19. "How can we set up next school year to be sustainable for teachers, students and parents?" Velez asks. "Our priority right now is having teacher impact on what next year is going to look like." Help amplify the story of SBEU's fight by following on social media, liking their posts and sharing their website (, which posts their union declaration letter to DCP management as well as a video the educators cre- ated on why they decided to say "Union Yes." "Knowing that there are people in your school, your district and schools around the state who have your back feels good," Velez says. South Bay Educators United social media Sal Williams 40 feature C O V I D - 1 9

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - June/July 2020