California Educator

April/May 2023

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Mt. Diablo Class-Size Dispute On Jan. 31, 2023, the district agreed to settle six grievances related to class size that were sched- uled for arbitration the following day. The Mount Diablo Education Association had grieved that the district violated the CBA by exceeding class size limits and failing to remove excess students when teachers objected to the overage. As part of the settlement, the district acknowledged the contractual violation, agreed to remove excess students, agreed to com- pensate the affected teachers for overages to date, and agreed to pay the arbitrator 's entire cancellation fee that resulted from the last-day settlement. Be familiar with the employment conditions that are most important to you, as well as the agreed upon process in your own CBA for the resolution of any disputes that might arise during the life of the agreement. Your CBA is power! Jesús Quiñonez is CTA Legal Director. of an interview panel, who gave the grievant low rankings; however, during the panelists' testimony, they could not articulate any understanding of the contract language on preference for internal candidates or explain how they had applied it. The arbitrator ruled that the teacher had not been given "first consider- ation" and that the external candidate could not properly be deemed "clearly superior." The district was ordered to offer the grievant the next available TK or K vacancy at the school where the vacancy had been filled. Continued from Page 35 relationships with parents and the community, and prepar- ing for the possibility of a job action to achieve their goals. In November 2022, after the district declared impasse, UTR took a strike authorization vote — with more than 90 percent of members voting, 97.3 percent voted to authorize a strike. ey continued building power, culminating in a January rally outside the school board meeting that attracted more than half of UTR's 1,500 members. "at made the difference," Zabala says. "In many ways, our strategic plan played out almost exactly as we anticipated." For community schools, Zabala says there was conceptual agreement going into negotiations, espe- cially since the district was already providing many similar services. He says a big moment was helping management to see that collaboration on community schools is a victory for the school district, its students and everyone who supports them. " We told them, ' This is about building on the success we already have.' It's a win for the district, not just in engaging fam- ilies but in providing these services," Zabala says. "We had to take the leap of faith together that this is justice." Just as the community schools model requires stakeholders to step out of their traditional roles to collaboratively identify and support student and community needs, Zabala says UTR's work to reach agreement with district management also required both to break out of their roles as labor and management, and work together toward an end goal. " There's something really liberating about that," Zabala says. As UTR organized to win community schools and other resources, Zabala says it was moving to see how CTA worked to bolster their efforts, whether it was neigh- boring locals and leaders joining U TR rallies, CTA staff providing advice and support, or weekly phone calls with United Teachers Los Angeles leader Alex Caputo-Pearl, who serves as a coach through NEA.. "We're not alone. If we need something, we can reach out and we will have help. It's really powerful," Zabala says. "We were fighting not only for the students in this community, but across the state as well, and people were lifting us up." Questions about UTR's community schools article or how they won agreement? Contact Zabala directly at "People really care about community schools because they know education is more than just math and reading lessons." —UTR President John Zabala 37 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 3

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