Amid a battle with pro-union organizers, the Clovis Unified School District Faculty Senate voted on Monday to form a new employee organization called the Clovis Teachers Organization.
“Currently, the Faculty Senate is not recognized by (the Public Employee Relations Board) as a representative body, (and) anyone else, any outside group, can try to come in and influence and to gain access or representation, âsaid Senate vice president of faculty. President Bill Buettner. “And we would like to make sure that the people who negotiate or work with (the) administration and the district and in the community are Clovis Unified teachers representing Clovis Unified teachers.”
According to a Senate press release, 96.9% of the votes cast at Monday’s Senate meeting supported the request for recognition of PERB as a new organization. Now, the organizers must collect enough signatures to be recognized by the state agency.
If that happens, the faculty Senate will dissolve, as there can only be one organization representing the faculty, Buettner told The Bee.
The CTO is said to be a non-union organization composed only of graduate teachers, and it will not be affiliated with the Clovis Educators Association, or any union organization, the statement said.
âThere are a lot of teachers in the district who don’t want to be part of an outside organization,â said Buettner, a high school math teacher.
According to the Senate press release, the CTO is “not beholden to any political ideology and is free to advocate and negotiate on behalf of our fellow teachers at CUSD while upholding the rich traditions of excellence that the families and communities of Clovis Unified School The neighborhood waits and enjoys.
The Clovis Educators Association, formed in 2020, lobbied for teachers to unionize. Clovis Unified is the largest district in the state without a teacher union. In recent months, ACE has filed complaints with the California Public Employment Relations Board alleging that Clovis Unified continues to support and influence Senate faculty, which union organizers say interferes with efforts to create a union to better represent the faculty.
The Senate’s decision to form an official representative organization with the PERB is puzzling for some teachers, including Kristin Heimerdinger, a high school teacher and ACE spokesperson.
She said the Senate seems to agree now that “an independent voice is needed, but their statement to become an exclusive representative with bargaining rights is very confusing as they say they don’t want to be a union.”
âIt’s a classic anti-union strategy of just trying to create more confusion and trying to cover his tracks,â Heimerdinger said, âbecause all it does is just confuse educators about their options. “
Buettner argued that the organization would not look like a union because there would be no connection with groups like the California Teachers Association, the National Educational Association or the American Federation of Teachers.
âThis is a self-represented group – the Clovis Unified teachers representing the Clovis Unified teachers,â he said. âThis has no affiliation with an outside trade union organization. “