Classified Staff Petitions for Raises and Benefits

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Classified Staff Petitions for Raises and Benefits

SPEAK UP Classified Staff members display their signs as they protest pay raises and health and retirement benefits.

SPEAK UP Classified Staff members display their signs as they protest pay raises and health and retirement benefits.

SPEAK UP Classified Staff members display their signs as they protest pay raises and health and retirement benefits.

SPEAK UP Classified Staff members display their signs as they protest pay raises and health and retirement benefits.

By Sonja Hutson

Members of the TUHSD chapter of the California School Employees Association (CSEA) held another rally regarding pay raises and increased health and retirement benefits for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 contracts on April 23 outside the back parking lot at Redwood High School, preceding a school board meeting held in a nearby building. The protesters waved signs and cheered, “Support the classified!” at passing cars.

This demonstration mirrors a similar protest held by the CSEA before a school board meeting at Tam on March 27. At the more recent rally, staff members gathered to listen to group leaders speak and handed out flyers titled “Do the right thing!” describing the inequity they believe to be subject to within the district.

SPEAK UP Classified Staff members display their signs as they protest pay raises and health and retirement benefits.

SPEAK UP: Classified Staff members display their signs as they protest pay raises and health and retirement benefits. Photo by: Sonja Hutson

“No action was taken [by the district],” CSEA chapter president Laura Ibanez said of the reason for these increased efforts.

CSEA members are also upset about what they believe to be misinformation posted on the district website about their ability to further their cause on school grounds which “unlawfully prohibits legitimate activities by the classified employees,” CSEA Chief Counsel Michael R. Clancy wrote in a letter addressed to Superintendent Laurie Kimbrel and the school board.

The district’s document stated that employees could not “hand out flyers on school grounds and at school events and activities” nor could they “display union signs, placards or literature in classrooms or offices, or at desks,” and were limited to wearing union buttons and T-shirts on school grounds.

Clancy pointed out that the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA) guarantees the right of union members “both to distribute union literature and to conduct non-disruptive informational picketing on school property during their non-work time,” Clancy wrote.

Additionally, Clancy argued that classified staff had the right to display union signs at their cubicle or work station because employees are permitted by a 2004 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling to display other non-work-related items, such as personal photos, at their workstations.

The district’s lawyer, Joshua Stevens, responded in a letter that the district disagrees with the allegation that they are violating the EERA and with Clancy’s interpretation of the rulings. Despite this, the district removed the document from their website “in an effort to move the parties towards a resolution,” according to Clancy’s letter.

Kimbrel said that the CSEA rallies “have been calm and have not disrupted the operations of the district” and “do not impact negotiations.”

Fact finding in the labor dispute has been pushed back to early June.