Frequently Requested Information
Contact Us
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    « Education Improvement | Main | Special Education »

    Collective Bargaining

    For educators in PUSD, their union contract should be as vital as their student gradebook or lesson planner. It’s a critical document that’s the culmination of the collective bargaining process. Understanding it and how it came about is critical to understanding how UTP impacts its members’ professional life in profound ways.

    At least once every month, sometimes more often, UTP and PUSD sit down to negotiate the terms for working in the District. Educators in UTP bargain a contract defining the issues for all members of the bargaining unit: teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses, and speech therapists.

    On Sept. 22, 1975, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed CTA-sponsored Senate Bill 160 by state Sen. Al Rodda, known as the Educational Employment Relations Act or the Rodda Act, to give California public school teachers collective bargaining rights. The legislation established an administrative body that became the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

    Disputes over labor law are settled by filing an “unfair labor practice” charge with PERB. Disputes over sections of a labor contract are settled by filing grievances against the District.

    Once a UTP/PUSD contract settlement is reached, it must be ratified by a majority vote of UTP’s members, and then by the PUSD Board of Education. When the contract expires, the process begins again. If a state mediator cannot help break any bargaining impasse that occurs, and a non-binding report from a neutral fact-finder fails to resolve the crisis, only then can teachers strike.

    Not everything is negotiable. Critical job issues that are within the legal scope of bargaining include compensation, hours of work, safety matters, class size, evaluation and disciplinary procedures, health care, access to personnel files, preparation time, seniority, transfer rights, a grievance procedure with binding arbitration to settle major disputes, discrimination, job assignments, and early retirement.

    Issues not within the scope of bargaining include the District’s staffing needs, the District budget process, matters affecting employees outside the bargaining unit, the timing of layoffs, an advisory committee formed by the District, and access to information unrelated to UTP representation.

    Bargaining law levels the playing field. Teachers sit down as equals with administrators and both sides start the process with initial proposals. Even without today’s harsh economic climate, where many California school districts hit with cuts are trying to reduce health care benefits and salaries and impose furloughs or worse, the bargaining process has shown that teachers are willing to push back to protect their profession and their compensation.

    Before the historic Rodda Act of 1975 gave teachers real bargaining rights, they suffered under the toothless Winton Act, passed by the California Legislature in 1965 to pacify restless educators across the state.

    It allowed teachers to “meet and confer” with administrators on key issues, but little was accomplished as “meet and confer” degenerated into “meet and defer” as districts stonewalled. Districts were under no obligation to act on teachers’ proposals, and school boards had the final say anyway to do as they wished.




    References (30)

    References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>