March 5 newsletter

Dear Unite Summit members:

We are excited to embark on this process, kicking off org-wide efforts such as our bargaining input meetings. If you have any questions on the process/would like to support in organizing in any manner, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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 have started! 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 have been scheduled at each site, and our goal is to have all input meetings completed by the end of this week. So far, Rainier, Everest and Denali have completed their input meetings.

These meetings are 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.

Update on Bargaining Team Proposals:

Based on the input provided at these 3 meetings, it seems that schools are leaning toward smaller scale bargaining teams, with a representative from each city. Please make sure you are taking the opportunity to voice your opinions on bargaining team structure in these meetings at your school site! This decision is not solidified yet until input meetings have taken place at each school site. Other options would include having a representative from each school (large scale bargaining team) or having a representative from each region (North Bay, East Bay, South Bay) — or if you have a different idea, please share!

Answers to frequently asked questions:

How long will this process take?

Based on the experience of other union charter schools, bargaining a first contract takes about a year. Subsequent contracts usually take less time to negotiate, since we would not be starting from scratch like we are with a first contract.

How does the Janus decision impact our union?

Janus is the name of a Supreme Court decision (made in June of 2018) that is part of a decades-long attack on unions, funded by people like the DeVos family and the Koch brothers. Before Janus, public sector workers in unions could be required to either join the union as members (paying full dues) or become a “fee-payer” and pay a lesser amount of money, proportional to the cost of representation and bargaining contracts.

The Janus decision means that folks no longer have to pay a fee; in other words, they can enjoy all the benefits of having a union without having to pay for it.

All that being said, Janus has not actually impacted teacher unions. As the red state rebellion and the recent teachers strikes in LA and Oakland have shown, teachers are excited to come together in their union and use their power — along with parents, students, and community — to pressure politicians to prioritize education funding and to redirect money away from central offices and bureaucracies and into the classroom.   

How is a contract ratified? What is the difference between dues and non-dues paying members’ rights within the union?

When Summit administration and our elected Unite Summit bargaining team have negotiated a contract that they think everyone can agree on, we will have a “tentative agreement.” It’s tentative because the Summit Board will have to vote for it, and we will have to vote for it.

Right now, the dues of many other educators from across the state are supporting our organizing and our upcoming contract negotiations. We will not sign up for membership or start paying dues until it’s time to vote on the tentative agreement. This means once we have a tentative agreement, we will be able to weigh the improvements we have made in our contract against the cost of dues. Only members (those who pay dues) can vote to ratify the contract.   

Unite Summit Testimonials: Why we support US!

If you would like to add your picture for why you support Unite Summit, please feel free to send your pictures to the Organizing Committee Rep at your school!


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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