CVEU June 2017 End of School Newsletter
Dear CAVA Colleague,
It was great to see so many CVEU members wearing their union pins at the end of year activities and graduations. We were especially happy to see over 100 high school teachers attend our first lunchtime meeting last week that took place in a Blackboard room. Due to the great turnout, we will be scheduling more lunchtime meetings next year.
We wanted to send you a final update before we break for summer vacation. Below is a bargaining update as well as answers to some frequently asked questions that have come in over the past few weeks. Over the summer, your CVEU Board and Reps will be working hard planning for the 2017-18 school year and we will update you with any pertinent information. If your RLT or RES team does not currently have a rep assigned to it and you might be interested in supporting your team please contact Michelle Thornburg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions, feedback, or if you want to get involved in your union, please contact us at email@example.com.
Last week, on June 19th, April Warren sent a bargaining update through email to all staff. CVEU addressed many of the points in our June 8th update, however, in an effort to ensure CVEU’s position is clear and to respond to member questions in regards to CAVA’s s update, we wanted to specifically respond to a few items.
During this negotiation session, CVEU had presented salary comparisons to demonstrate to the CAVA administration why their proposed salary was not sufficient for our members. The salary comparisons provided to CAVA were pulled from school districts that CAVA has charters through.Teachers hired at CAVA are highly qualified teachers, credentialed by the state of California. As such, comparisons to other certificated teachers located in districts where our students reside are viable and logical comparisons. We invited and encouraged CAVA admin to present their own salary comparisons if they disagreed with ours and look forward to seeing their salary comparisons.CVEU first proposed our salaries article in September 2016.
CVEU also provided salary comparisons that demonstrated how little CVEU members are paid on a daily basis compared to certified staff at school districts were CAVA has charters (please see graph below). CAVA’s school year is currently 215 days, a standard school year for certified staff is 185, due to our low wages and extended year CVEU demonstrated that CAVA requires teachers and staff to work more days for less money. Sadly this information shows that not only are CAVA’s highly qualified educators working for less pay annually, they are also working more days. Your CVEU bargaining team proposed in our work year article that members should be held to a school year with 200 work days and have a starting pay of $51,000.00. This reduction in work days combined with a higher salary, as proposed in our article on salaries, would translate into a real benefit for our members. Please see our proposed Salary Article in SharePoint or click Proposed Salary and Benefits Article.
Lastly, In an effort to reflect the valid concerns of our members CVEU did not include merit based pay because CAVA has demonstrated that merit pay is not a reliable source of compensation. CVEU would prefer that CAVA reward their staff with a structured and transparent method of compensation in the form of a tiered salary schedule that is consistent. CAVA’s proposed merit pay clause included a disclaimer that it would not be guaranteed. CVEU members are requesting a more stable salary schedule with raises we can count on.
Currently, CVEU has filed an Unfair Labor Practice through the Public Employee Relations Board against CAVA for not following through on last year’s merit-based pay raise. While we believe a more reliable pay scale should be in place until that time we highly encourage CAVA to follow through with their promise of a merit-based pay raise for the 2016-2017 school year.
As we enter into the Mediation phase of contract negotiations, CVEU joins CAVA administration in the hopes that this next phase of mediation will ultimately lead to a fair contract.
It has recently been brought to our attention that teachers were advised by the administration last semester about how to curve their students’ grades to make up for issues with Summit courses. Some concerns have been raised about this practice, as well as about the way the Summit courses were introduced to both teachers and students. In an effort to avoid future complications, we are interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences concerning the introduction of the Summit courses as well as any related grading issues or pass rates. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns, insights, or questions.
Why do we stay with CAVA?
As we finish up another year with CAVA, many of us are heading into the Summer asking ourselves, "Why do I stay with CAVA?". Many of us feel undervalued and overworked. Many of us feel under-appreciated and stressed out. Many of us are perpetually frustrated with administration's insistence that CAVA teachers should simply be thankful for the ability to work from home, and that any salary comparisons to our brick and mortar teaching peers are unwarranted.
So, why do we stay with CAVA?
The answers that we have heard are complicated, heartfelt, and authentic. Most of us stay with CAVA primarily because we truly want this to work. We truly believe that CAVA has the potential to be a great school. We are hopeful that the administrative missteps will cease, and that our experience as teaching professionals will be counted on to help make decisions that actually help our students succeed. We have a long way to go in order to make these hopes real.
There will be potential opportunities in the coming months to speak with news outlets, other teaching professionals, and families about the many problems with this school. While it is extremely important to identify and explain the many problems with this school, it's also important to identify that we are fighting to make this school reach its potential. We are fighting to change how decisions are made without teacher input. We are fighting to make CAVA a school of which families and teachers are proud.
So if the opportunity does present itself in the coming months to speak to the many ways in which CAVA is falling short, let us not forget to address these issues from a place of trying to make CAVA better and to make CAVA finally live up to its potential.
Did You Know?
Under the Educational Employment Relations Act, which governs labor relations for public schools (including charter schools) in California:
Question: Should I sign the contract sent from Casey for 2017-18?
Answer: Yes, if you would like to return to CAVA next year, sign your contract right away.
Question: Will we receive retroactive pay once the contract is settled?
Answer: Retroactive pay is a negotiated item and this will be determined during bargaining.
Question: Did all employees receive a raise this year?
Answer: Yes, all staff should have received at least a 2.5% increase over last year's contracted rate. Please double check this on your contract as we have heard reports from some members that mistakes were made on current contracts.
Looking Forward to 2017-18
Wishing you a peaceful and restful summer!
The CVEU Organizing Committee