UTLA files unfair labor practice charge against Alliance management for refusal to bargain

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For immediate release

November 23, 2020

Media contact: Anna Bakalis (213) 305-9654

 

11.23.2020 UTLA Alliance Featured Image

Alliance has fought educators’ unionization efforts since 2015, continues to deny educators their right to collectively bargain

 

LOS ANGELES — United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) filed an unfair labor practice (linked here) today with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) over Alliance charter schools’ refusal to bargain with educators at three Alliance College-Ready Public Schools who democratically chose to unionize with UTLA beginning in 2018. 

 

A supermajority of educators at Alliance Gertz Ressler-Richard Merkin 6-12 Complex, Judy Ivie Burton Tech, and Alliance College-Ready Middle School 5 filed for union recognition in May 2018. A supermajority of educators at two more Alliance schools, Morgan McKinizie High School and Leichtman-Levine Environmental Science High School, filed in April 2019. 

 

On Wednesday, November 18, 2020, Alliance management announced that it would not comply with the October 14 , 2020 PERB Board decision upholding PERB’s previous decision in May of this year — both decisions ordering Alliance to commence bargaining at three schools that were organized in 2018. 

 

Alliance’s refusal to bargain with educators is unlawful and goes against these two previous PERB decisions.

 

“We are calling on Alliance to stop the delay and to recognize and begin bargaining with union educators at all five schools,” said UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz. “Alliance, respect the decision of your educators, respect PERB’s decision, and be a model of social justice for the good of the school community and the city of Los Angeles.”

 

Alliance management’s refusal to bargain is only the latest deny-and-delay tactic in a historic and often vicious anti-union campaign. The California State Auditor in a report found that the charter chain had spent over $3 million as of 2017 in campaign costs and legal fees fighting its own teachers and attempting to pit parents against pro-union teachers. In 2015, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant issued an injunction against Alliance to halt violations of educators’ rights protected under state labor law. But Alliance educators have continued to be barraged by an employer-funded, and often illegal, anti-union campaign, and PERB has issued numerous legal complaints.  

In spite of the stance by Alliance management, educators are determined to organize and are ready to bargain with their employer.

The driving factors for educators’ organizing for a union include extremely high turnover at many Alliance schools and a lack of decision-making authority teachers have in issues affecting their classrooms and their students. 

 

“Not recognizing our union, despite PERB’s October 14 decision, is unacceptable,”  said Jamie Garcia, a seven-year Environmental Science teacher at Burton High School. “One of Alliance’s core values is ‘highly qualified educators’ — well, here we are. We are imploring you to begin a process of respecting educators’ decisions and bargain with us. We’re not going away.”