In March, the Globe reported that teachers at Gompers Preparatory Academy, a public charter school in San Diego, came together again to vote San Diego Education Association union bosses out of power at the school.
The teachers tried in 2020 to vote the union out but were blocked by union bosses, as well as biased California Public Employment Relations Board regulations. However, a majority of educators signed the new petition in March asking California Public Employment Relations Board for a vote on whether the union deserves to stay, or be ousted.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation reported the attempt was the second in just over three years by Gompers educators to vote SDEA union bosses out of power. In 2019, Gompers chemistry teacher Kristie Chiscano submitted a petition that also contained enough signatures to prompt the PERB to hold a vote to decertify the union, but SDEA bosses manipulated unproven charges of Gompers management to stop the effort.
There is now good news to report: The National Right to Work Foundation announced that teachers at Gompers Preparatory Academy have successfully voted to remove San Diego Education Association (SDEA) union bosses from the school.
After collecting ballots from Gompers educators from May 10 to June 6, California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) announced a majority of teachers voted to remove the union.
The NRWF reports the details:
Union officials often manipulate “blocking charges” at the PERB and other state and federal labor relations agencies to stifle worker attempts to eliminate unpopular union “representation.” Despite the PERB never holding a hearing into whether SDEA union bosses’ claims had any merit or whether they were related to the workers’ dissatisfaction with the union, PERB officials denied a decertification election to Gompers educators in October 2020.
Even worse, shortly after the PERB’s ruling halting the original decertification effort, Chiscano and another Gompers educator filed charges maintaining that SDEA agents targeted them on social media for opposing the union hierarchy. California law makes it illegal for union officials to intimidate or retaliate against employees who exercise their right to refrain from union membership.
Union boss-aligned state legislators even chimed in to pressure Gompers management to give in to union demands. In a letter to Gompers management, then-Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (now an AFL-CIO president) attacked the National Right to Work Foundation for simply providing legal aid to Gompers educators as they sought to exercise their right to hold a decertification election. Gonzalez was best known during her tenure for authoring AB5, a California law that drastically reduced opportunities for freelance workers and independent contractors across the state.
“Gompers educators witnessed that SDEA union officials were not acting in the best interests of the students or the school community at large, and fought courageously for years to bring back the independent environment that made Gompers a success,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “While we at the Foundation are proud to have helped them win the fight, the hardship these teachers faced just to vote out a union they disapproved of should raise serious questions about union officials’ privileges under California law.”
“Gompers teachers endured years of legal roadblocks just to exercise their rights, and that’s to say nothing of the retaliation they faced from union officials and even pressure from union-label policymakers,” Mix added. “No special interest group in California, or in America, should wield this kind of power over teachers and the public education system.”
The educators received free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
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