Newsletter and bargaining input meeting inform

Dear Unite Summit members:

We are excited about the next steps with our union.  We believe an empowered teacher community and a strong union contract will help reduce turnover, create more stability, and make our schools even better. There are many ways to be involved in the next steps of the process.  If you have questions, or want to help, please let us know!

Attend a bargaining input meeting!

If you have not yet had a chance to fill out the bargaining prep survey, please do so ASAP – bargaining input meetings start this week! We’d like to have as much data as possible to inform our work together; everyone’s voice is valuable!

You can find the survey at: https://tinyurl.com/y2bkw6ag.

Bargaining input meetings will be scheduled for each site starting this week and continuing into next week. Please reach out to your site organizers for details; you should be receiving communication from them very soon if you have not already!

These meetings will be a chance to discuss our bargaining prep survey results and add further perspective about what issues we should prioritize going into bargaining. You will have a chance to give input into how we elect our bargaining team and to offer nominations. About 50 people have been nominated so far!

If you can’t attend your site’s meeting but would like to give more input than you were able to give on the bargaining prep survey, contact your site organizers or email unitesummitteachers@gmail.com.

Here’s a draft agenda for the bargaining input meetings:

  1. Timeline: How did we get here?
  2. Overview of Bargaining Process
  3. Bargaining Team Proposals
  4. Bargaining Survey Results
  5. Bargaining Brainstorm
  6. Next Steps
  7. Questions & Concerns

Answers to frequently asked questions:

How can I support contract negotiations?

There are a few different ways to get involved:

  1. Fill out the bargaining survey and attend an input session to share your ideas and priorities for our contract.
  1. Run for the bargaining team. We will have an elected bargaining team; the bargaining team is the group of teachers that will write contract proposals and sit down and negotiate with network admin. if you are interested in being on the bargaining team (or know a coworker who you think would be great) there’s a space for nominations on the bargaining survey. We will also be taking nominations at the bargaining input sessions.
  1. Volunteer to join the contract action team. There will be people on the contract action team from each school site who will help support the bargaining team by keeping their school sites updated about what’s happening in bargaining and bringing feedback and input from their school sites to the bargaining team.  

Why did we choose to affiliate with the California Teachers Association?

Angel Maldonado, President of Asociación de Maestros Unidos/CTA/NEA (the union of charter educators at Green Dot)

We’ve been clear from the very beginning — and explicitly stated on our unionization petition — that we will be joining the California Teachers Association. We are proud to be joining the 250+ charter schools that are already a part of CTA. By affiliating with CTA, we are able to be part of a broader movement of union charter educators, whose experience and support will be crucial as we negotiate our first contract. We’ll also be part of a larger organization of educators that is advocating on issues we all care about, like more school funding. Importantly, while we are part of a larger organization that is supporting us with resources and staff and connecting us with other charter educators, as Unite Summit we will negotiate our own contract, write our own bylaws, and elect our own leadership.

“When I think of the most important Union value exercised by my charter school members, I think of workplace democracy. It’s the workplace freedom and security of voicing opinions, fearless advocacy, and the power to determine your working conditions. If we believe ALL educators deserve a voice in their working conditions, and should feel safe in advocating for themselves, their students, and the communities they serve, we must truly mean ALL. Charter educators included.”
Angel Maldonado, President of Asociación de Maestros Unidos/CTA/NEA (the union of charter educators at Green Dot).

How does our union impact the current compensation plan discussed during the State of the Organization PD?

During our compensation discussion in All-org PD, many were wondering how formation of Unite Summit may affect the previously agreed-upon pay structures. Current processes freeze (stay consistent), and are not inhibited by our union. In other words, any raises for next year that we were promised before we formed our union stay in place. We will negotiate any changes to our current pay structure during contract negotiations, and all members will have the chance to vote on the whole contract before it goes into effect.

These slides address additional questions we’ve received. Check them out if you’re seeking further context! (Slides can be found at tinyurl.com/introducingUS.)

Success stories from other union charter schools:

By unionizing, charter educators have won big improvements in working conditions and a greater say in decisions at their schools.  Some examples success stories include:

Union of Foundation Educators: At the Foundation for Hispanic Education (three charter schools in San Jose), teachers were particularly concerned about parental leave. Teachers supported their union bargaining team – they even showed up at school board meetings with their babies to talk about why this issue was so important to them. Ultimately, teachers won eight weeks of fully paid parental leave (without having to use any of their sick days) plus additional job protections if they wanted to take a longer leave. By being unified, teachers won!

Ana Benderas, Luis Valdez Leadership Academy

“Unionizing our mostly Latinx charter school was the best decision we have collectively made as teachers of color. Not only did we secure benefits and a fair salary schedule, we protected our small class sizes, and equalized salaries to close the gender wage gap. Best of all, we ensured lactating teachers would have a pumping space that exceeds minimum law requirements, and provided our teachers with 8 weeks of full pay for maternity leave, also securing job protection for up to 6 months to be with their babies! Unions keep good teachers working with the students who need us most.”

Envision United: Educators at Envision schools in the Bay Area unionized because they saw too many of their colleagues burning out and leaving. In order to reduce turnover, Envision educators negotiated a contract that lowered the number of required after school activities and gave teachers extra stipends (from $1,000-$3,000) the longer they stayed with Envision.

Stay tuned to www.unitesummitteachers.wordpress.com for further updates. You can also reach us at unitesummitteachers@gmail.com if you have questions or want to help with the next stages of building our union. Thank you for joining us in these exciting efforts to improve our schools in the service of students and teachers!

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