Caliber: Beta Academy forms first charter school union in Richmond, CA

RICHMOND, CA — The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is excited to announce that workers of Caliber: Beta Academy have recently organized with majority support as the Caliber Workers Union (CWU) under the IWW, forming the first charter school union in Richmond, CA. As of April 21st, CWU has submitted a request for voluntary recognition to Caliber: Beta Academy’s school leadership. CWU is excited to begin the process of negotiating their contract. Their key demands include an end to at-will employment, an equitable evaluation policy, and the right to union representation at any meeting wherein matters affecting school curriculum, staff pay, hours, benefits, advancement, or layoffs may be discussed or voted on.  

The workers of CWU decided to unionize to honor their organizational values of equity, collective responsibility, and justice. CWU’s mission to organize for worker protection and the ability to advocate is informed by the knowledge that employee working conditions are students’ learning conditions. Knowing that Caliber’s mission is to "reimagine education," CWU believes it is particularly important for Caliber to lead the way in establishing union support that is uncommon for charter school employees. As we navigate the ongoing pandemic CWU is eager to move forward collaboratively with students, families, and administration to support our school through these changes and growth.

"Caliber’s strength has always come from the brilliance of its students, their families, and the unwavering dedication and passion of its workers. Unionizing is the next necessary step in our commitment to the people who make our school possible. It’s exciting that Caliber gets to lead by becoming the first charter school in Richmond to unionize for the betterment of its school community," said CWU member and 4th grade lead teacher Tyler Powles.

"I fully support the idea of a Union here at Caliber because of the security for directly making influential decisions through the use of my voice on behalf of staff and for students. Teachers at Caliber aren’t robots, but can seem to function like they are, because they are fueled by their passion and commitment to their students. The Union serves to magnify and brighten that passion and commitment, " said Fernando Ramos, K-2 PE Teacher.

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