June 7, 2018Charter News
Strike authorization passes by 99%
Above, UTLA-Accelerated educators count strike authorization votes on June 4, 2018. Members have been in negotiations with the Accelerated Schools management since April 2017 and recently declared an impasse.
Charter school teachers may take strike vote over affordable healthcare, just cause for dismissal, and other priorities.
Charter school educators at The Accelerated Schools (TAS) have been in contract negotiations with their employer since April 2017. They entered negotiations with the goal of dramatically improving their school for students and for themselves, at a time when the school was seeing a 30% to 50% teacher turnover rate each year.
To make their school a place that would serve the students and community well, they knew that attracting and retaining talented educators had to be a top priority. To do that, they would have to improve the way teachers were treated, and they entered contract bargaining with four simple goals:
- A salary table
- Affordable healthcare
- Binding arbitration in the grievance procedure
- Just cause for discipline and dismissal.
These four priorities are the minimum standards for virtually 95% of teachers and are fundamental to recruiting and retaining staff and allowing teachers to advocate for their students and for themselves without fear of retaliation. Yet, it was these basic rights and protections that the teachers at TAS found themselves fighting for. After many worksite solidarity actions such as button days, red shirt days, leafleting parents, petition drives, attending Board meetings, work-to-rule actions, and 20 bargaining sessions, the teachers of TAS have managed to win one of their goals: a salary table that rewards experience and education, something they were once told by management’s attorney would “never happen.”
Unfortunately, the teachers and management are at an impasse on the remaining three issues. TAS management is holding to their positions of freezing their healthcare premium contributions so that any future increases would be 100% borne by teachers, advisory instead of binding arbitration so management has the final authority over the outcome of a grievance, and lastly, the ability to dismiss any teacher, for any reason, without cause or explanation, at the end of each school year.
As the teachers proceed to impasse procedures, they are strategizing on how to win the rest of their bargaining priorities — very basic rights that all educators deserve. Included in that strategy may be a strike authorization vote. The educators at TAS have long known that it may take a strike to win their demands. It’s a decision that they hoped they would not have to make, but one they may be forced to make very soon.