Updates on recognition process and our rights

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This newsletter seeks to clarify and provide context around the current status of our unionization efforts, the process for moving forward, and the accuracy of recent communications from SPS leaders.

Debate about the composition of our bargaining unit

Unite Summit, CTA and NEA filed an EERA representation petition with the Public Employees Relations Board on 1/25/19. The petition requested recognition of an employee bargaining unit (positions to be included in our union) described as “all certificated educational personnel including but not limited to: certificated teachers, teacher residents, and teachers holding other equivalent documents pursuant to EC section 47605(l).

We included residents in our bargaining unit because we feel that they perform the duties of a teacher and are therefore part of our community of interest. We wish to support our residents in their work toward becoming full-time teachers, and we recognize that SPS hires many residents once they have completed their program.

In their April 8 meeting with US representatives, Diane and Anson refused to answer any questions regarding the reasoning behind excluding residents from the bargaining unit.

Diane and Anson also refused to provide a rationale for why SPS is seeking to add 94 positions to the bargaining unit. Those names consist mainly of Home Office employees. US does not feel that these jobs are analogous to the job of teacher. Furthermore, some of these job titles indicate that these employees have supervisory and managerial responsibilities, which would exclude them from the unit. Here are the job titles included on that disputed list:

  1. 70 names in the job category “managers.” This includes management job assignments such as: special ed, literary interventionist, social studies, program manager, curriculum manager, operations manager, deans.
  2. 20 names in the job category “directors.” This includes directors assigned to professional development, base curriculum, mentor directors, summit learning platform, summit learning growth, district programs, deans.
  3. 2 names in the job category “associate/assistant” This includes a curriculum support manager and ASL support.
  4. 2 names in the job category “senior director” (of the Summit Learning Program)

Next steps in the PERB recognition process

Current status: On March 21, 2019, PERB notified Unite Summit and Summit Public Schools that Unite Summit demonstrated majority support for our union and that recognition must be granted unless the employer doubts the appropriateness of the unit. SPS has until April 9, 2019, to respond. Summit administration has told us they will deny recognition of our union because they don’t think residents should be included (they also included 94 other home office positions that they believe do belong in our union).  

Next steps: Assuming Summit denies recognition, the Public Employment Relations Board will investigate which job classifications should be covered by our union. As part of this process, a lawyer from PERB may convene  a meeting with Unite Summit and Summit administration to try to resolve the issue. We hope to come to an agreement and be recognized as the exclusive representative so we can begin bargaining our contract. If we don’t come to agreement, PERB will make a ruling about which jobs should be included in our bargaining unit. Since we have majority support from our colleagues for Unite Summit, we will be recognized as the “exclusive representative” either by Summit or by PERB. We will continue through the PERB recognition process and are confident that our union will be officially recognized soon.

Our Rights

What are our rights currently?

We have the right to ask for information, be notified by Summit about any changes they plan to make, meet with Summit and give input on any proposed changes, and we will assert we have the right to bargain over any proposed changes to our working conditions.

What will our rights be as the “exclusive representative”?

We will have all the rights we currently have. In addition, we have the right to bargain our union contract and to bargain over any changes to working conditions at any time. We also have the right to elect a bargaining team that will meet during school hours to bargain with Summit administration about our contract.

A letter of support

Assemblymember Ash Kalra wrote this letter in support of our unionization efforts.

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We are seeking to ensure that all our members are fully informed as we progress through our unionization process. Please reach out to your site organizer or email us at unitesummitteachers@gmail.com if you have questions! You can also subscribe to our website for updates!

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