Alliance officials deny illegal ‘anti-union’ accusations of UTLA
Craig Clough | April 24, 2015
The LA teachers union, UTLA, released documents today that it says proves the administration of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools has been illegally blocking a unionization attempt by its teachers. Alliance, in turn, acknowledged the documents were real and said that they prove nothing.
The documents outline a clear strategy by the administration to win the hearts and minds of teachers and parents over the union, but UTLA insists they also support a complaint it took earlier this month to the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). accusing Alliance of illegally interfering with efforts to unionize teachers.
The administration of Alliance has made no secret of the fact that it opposes its teachers’ joining UTLA. Alliance said in a press release yesterday that all of its actions have been legal, it has “nothing to hide,” and “in fact assume that all our documents related to the unionization campaign will end up in outside hands.”
The complaint to PERB came weeks after a group of 67 Alliance teachers announced a plan to mobilize the organization’s 600-plus teachers to join UTLA. Alliance operates 26 LA Unified charter schools, and its teachers currently work independent of any union representation.
An Alliance official confirmed to LA School Report that the document released by UTLA was authentic and said that it was prepared with help from its lawyers to answer questions about how staff should handle the activities at campuses regarding UTLA. It is in a question and answer format, all regarding UTLA’s effort and what Alliance is telling its administrators what they can, and cannot, do about it.
In a press release, UTLA pointed to a few passages it said was proof of wrongdoing.
Those passages include :
- “Talking directly to your people is the best way. Principals can and should tell everyone often that we are doing what we can to stop this”
- Make use of personal information about teachers in persuading them against forming a union: “feel free to highlight information you think might be useful to them. For example, if we know a teacher is concerned about finances, you might say, ‘I was amazed to learn that dues for this union could be about $700 a year’”
- “You do not have to allow union representatives on your campus”
- “The goal is no unionization, not which union”
Alliance said in its release yesterday it has done nothing wrong, and its goal is “to educate administrators and teachers as to the impact of unionization. Just as UTLA distributes their messages and trains their allies, we have not only the right, but we believe it is our responsibility to inform our administrators and teachers regarding our views.”
The release yesterday was an attempt by Alliance let steam out of UTLA’s scheduled press conference this morning where the documents were released by UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl.
UTLA said the memo demonstrates a “concerted campaign coordinated by Alliance home office to coerce and discourage teachers” from joining UTLA, a question it appears will be up to PERB to decide.