California Educator

March 2016

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A L A M E DA C H A R T E R S C H O O L E D U C ATO R S O K F I R S T CO N T R AC T Teachers, counselors and education support professionals from two Alameda charter schools operated by Commu- nity Learning Center Schools (CLCS) turned out in large numbers in February and voted unanimously to ratify their first-ever collective bargaining agreement. " We organized our union so that educators and staff could better advocate for our learners and our school," says Carrie Blanche, education specialist and elections chair of Nea ACLC United (NAU). "Our new contract accomplishes our most important goals, including lowering class sizes, increasing educator retention , and ensuring that staf f have the freedom to advocate for our learners without fear of reprisal." eir contract includes just cause, due process, binding arbitration, as well as improvements in class size, staffing and salaries. is victory follows a two-year struggle by the more than 70 members, who unionized with CTA to ensure a stronger voice for frontline educators in decisions that impact their students and schools. S A N LO R E N ZO E D U C ATO R S A P P R O V E N E W C O N - T R AC T, AVO I D S T R I K E Avoiding a possible strike, San Lorenzo Unified School District educators on Feb. 19 voted to approve a contract agreement that will help the 10,000-student district recruit and retain its teachers, who had been leaving for better-pay- ing districts in the East Bay. The agreement, reached on Feb. 3 after one year of community mobilizing and difficult negotiations, will pro- vide raises of 7 percent over two years. e school board was expected to approve it on March 1. San Lorenzo educators have been among the lowest-paid in Alameda County. " This settlement is a good step in the right direction toward investing in educators and the future of our com- munity," says Donna Pinkney, president of the 580-member San Lorenzo Education Association. N ATO M AS T E AC H E R S F I G H T FO R ST U D E N T SA F E T Y, S M A L L E R C L AS S S I Z E S Fed up with Natomas Unified School District's bullying behavior and refusal to invest in students and educators, the Natomas Teachers Association (NTA) filed for impasse with the district. Class size, student safety and services, respectful sal- aries and treatment to keep and attract quality teachers, and having a voice in education programs are sticking points in the bargaining. NTA demanded that NUSD cease and desist from publicly demonizing the teachers union through tactics intended to distract from negotiations and divide the bargaining unit. For example, when NTA proposed a new complaint proce- dure, the district claimed it meant that teachers committing inappropriate behavior could not be fired. After initial public anger, parents and the community rallied to NTA's side. NTA also filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging bad faith bargaining, in an attempt to "keep the district bargain- ing team honest," says NTA President Phil Cox. Bargaining Roundup Details of these stories at Members of the NAU bargaining team and organizing committee in Alameda celebrate ratifying their first contract. From left to right: Jon Blumenfeld, Leah Wachtel, Kira Foster, Daniel Pasker and Heather Dutton. 36

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