150 Teachers and Support Staff Ask California’s Public Employment Relations Board to Certify Their Union with New Filing
Teachers and Support Staff Reach Majority Support In Two Year Effort To Unionize Two Charter Schools
RICHMOND, California — Teachers and support staff at the K-8 charter school group, Caliber Public Schools, have cleared the way for certification of their union with a new filing at the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), demonstrating that a majority of the 150 school employees desire to unionize under the banner of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
Teachers and support staff initially filed for certification with PERB at Caliber Public School’s Richmond-based Caliber: Beta Academy April 2021 with a majority support, but management insisted that the union demonstrate majority support at the company’s second California location in Vallejo, the Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy.
Caliber Public Schools workers are expected to receive certification from PERB within the coming weeks, and will now be assembling a bargaining team to negotiate a Collective Agreement that would codify new standards of basic transparency and community accountability at the school. Workers and families will be working for a seat at the table where they can meaningfully impact key processes and priorities at the school, such as moderating workloads and class sizes, as well as establishing adequate compensation to retain skilled educators.
Retaining skilled, experienced educators is incompatible with perpetual understaffing, stagnating and uncompetitive compensation, and a lack of job security. A new Collective Bargaining Agreement will establish the necessary levers for workers and families to ensure the school is capable of delivering a high quality level of education consistently and dependably.
“I am proud and inspired to be working alongside such brilliant and dedicated educators. Unionization allows us to join the ranks of thousands of other schools across the country by ensuring that our staff are protected. I see unionization as an investment in our network's future: Our community has stood up to say yes to partnership, yes to accountability, and yes to the belief that we are strongest when all of our voices get a seat at the table. Our administration has already made some incredible changes. I'm excited to continue partnering with them, and look forward to all that this new chapter will bring!” - Fourth Grade Lead Teacher Gerri Swift
“A staffing shortage and catastrophic turnover rate at Caliber Public Schools is resulting in increasingly crowded classrooms while compensation and resources for teachers are stagnating. At schools right down the street, teachers are stipended when class sizes increase and are guaranteed less prep time, but we are asked to do more on the off chance that uneven benefits are doled out at the whim of management — meaning we are expected to work more with less without standards to ensure equity.” - Fourth Grade Lead Teacher Gerri Swift
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a labor union representing nearly 9,000 workers across North America. Established in 1905, the IWW is known for its high standards of democracy, transparency, multinationalism, and active use of the right to strike.