LA turns out for education.… Thousands of people jammed Grand Park on February 26 in a rally for “Schools LA Students Deserve.” They wore red to send the message to Los Angeles Unified: Teachers will not stop fighting for high-quality education including culturally relevant classes; smaller class sizes in fully-staffed clean and safe schools with social and emotional support for students; and fair compensation for teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians. Students, parents, and community groups joined United Teachers Los Angeles at the rally.
UTLA declared impasse in its contract negotiations after the district failed to bring meaningful proposals to the table on key items. The rally was one of many actions planned to show that 35,000 educators will strike if Los Angeles Unified fails to offer acceptable terms.
“UTLA does not want to strike,” said union president Alex Caputo-Pearl, “but no one should doubt our resolve to do so if necessary. This fight is too important for the 640,000 students in LAUSD. To accept what the district has offered would not be fair to these students, their parents, and to the educators, who have not even had a cost-of-living adjustment in eight years. LAUSD must do better.”
Judge returns union president to job… Genesther Taylor, a residential advisor at Sacramento Job Corps and president of the Sacramento Job Corps Federation of Teachers, is returning to work after being illegally dismissed a year ago. On February 10, a U.S. District Court judge ordered her immediate reinstatement saying her employer had acted with anti-union motivations.
“The company tried to destroy us but could not,” Taylor says. “We are a small local with 25 members. They probably thought since we were small, that the CFT would not stick up for us. But everyone rallied behind us. We never felt alone.”
Job Corps offers free education and vocational training to young adults ages 16 to 24. Private sector contractors manage the Job Corps centers for the Department of Labor. Under the National Labor Relations Act, a successor employer cannot refuse to hire the predecessor’s employees to avoid bargaining with the existing union.
“But when Adams & Associates came in March of 2014,” Taylor says, “they ignored the law which gives existing workers the right of first refusal. They engaged in a calculated mission to get rid of our union. They did not rehire excellent employees who’d had many years of great evaluations.”
At the hearing before the National Labor Relations Board, a company whistleblower testified that upper management was planning how to get rid of the union. The NLRB filed a petition with the U.S. District Court on the union’s behalf. The judge ruled that the local union president needed to be hired to prevent irreparable harm to the collective bargaining process.
Taylor, who has worked at Job Corps for six years, is one of 12 employees illegally let go. A final decision regarding all employees is expected in the coming months.
First contract!… San Jose chiropractic instructors will receive significant salary increases and improved working conditions as a result of their first collective bargaining agreement. The private sector workers in the Life Chiropractic College West Faculty Federation chose AFT in 2013.
Full-time faculty will be re-ranked and enjoy salary schedule increases between $5,000 and $20,000. The part-time faculty schedule boosts pay $10 to $30 per hour. The new local also negotiated grievance, layoff and re-hire procedures, among other strong contract language.
Part-timers win back jobs…Improperly “un-rehired” part-time instructors in Oakland will return to work — with back pay. The Peralta Federation of Teachers and the district settled the re-employment rights grievance filed by the union.
Two part-time faculty at Laney College who were not rehired as specified in the contract, will be reinstated in the spring semester and be compensated for the fall semester classes they lost.