FRESNO, California (KSEE) — Several Clovis Unified teachers advocated for the formation of a teacher union during the Clovis Unified Board meeting on Wednesday.
“The administration is upholding its part,” said Temperance Kutner Elementary School Teacher Erin Prieto. “Many educators feel intimidated and afraid.”
The teachers pushing for the formation of ACE, which stands for Association of Clovis Educators.
“We cannot be stagnant as educators, colleagues, and student’s voices are being ignored,” said Prieto.
The group that formed in July, wants educators to have power in district decisions, better pay and benefits, and more of a focus on diversity and inclusion.
“How can an educator feel comfortable working in a district that has a well-documented history of marginalizing them?” questioned Adrian Cádenas who is a teacher for Maramonte Elementary. “When will change come?”
In order for the union to become a reality, 50% plus one of Clovis Unified’s around 2100 teachers, psychologists, and other educators would have to sign a petition in support. The petition would be filed with the state’s Public Employee Relations Board and if approved the union would then negotiate a contract with Clovis Unified School District.
While some are fighting for the union, other teachers believe it will cause issues including taking away parents’ influence in decisions and forcing teachers to follow strict labor protocols like not working after hours.
“I don’t even think the community understands what a community knows what a union is going to mean,” said teacher Brian Franks. “I think a union attaches us to other organizations throughout the state and throughout the country that doesn’t provide our community with a voice.”
A statement from CUSD in response to the effort of educators to unionize can be read below.
We know there are groups currently working both toward and against the possibility of a teachers’ union in Clovis Unified, and in the midst of this dialogue among our teachers, the administration remains committed to keeping our doors open for conversation and working together with those groups representing our employees in the decision-making process.