On Friday, March 20th, The Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) concluded its hearing to determine if CAVA teachers are able to organize our union statewide as a group of educators with a single employer. Many of you will recall that CAVA administration, in an effort to slow down our efforts to make the improvements our students deserve, have argued that we have 11 different, independent employers. This issue is crucial in determining whether CAVA administration must recognize our union and begin bargaining a single contract with all of us.
The hearing was originally scheduled for three days (March 2-4), but the process of entering evidence and witness testimony took much longer than anticipated because the CAVA administrators, including Head of Schools, failed to recognize or acknowledge basic documents that are posted on CAVA’s web site or included in sharepoint! As a result, the PERB judge scheduled two additional days of hearing on March 19-20.
Many witnesses were subpoenaed and interviewed under oath. Testimony was given about how CAVA started, how we are managed as one school, how our school board members are selected, our relationship with K12 Inc., and the process for how teachers are hired and how terminations are conducted. Further evidence and testimony was provided about how teachers are assigned students across the state (with no regard for County boundaries) and how our salaries are allocated from funds across multiple “schools.” All of these points are critical in determining who our “employer” is. Boxes and boxes of documents demonstrating our “single employer” theory were entered into evidence.
When the hearing ended, the judge informed the parties that it would take about 3 weeks to get the hearing transcript, which she expected to be about 400-500 pages long. Once we receive the transcript, we will ensure that it is made readily available to all staff. After receipt of the transcript, our legal counsel and CAVA’s counsel will prepare post-hearing briefs arguing how the case should be decided. These briefs are due to the judge on May 20th. The judge assured the parties that this case will be expedited and she will give it priority over all other cases, but it will likely take many weeks after she receives the briefs to issue her decision.
The union organizing committee, together with our CTA legal counsel, feel confident that we presented a strong case demonstrating that CAVA is one school.
In the meantime, we must not wait idly for the decision. There is much work to be done. We have an in person professional development meeting coming soon. Please wear yellow to show your support of the CAVA teacher’s union! Also, many of us are working to make important improvements at our school by supporting legislation and better oversight to ensure more resources come to our classrooms. There will be plenty of opportunities for our colleagues to help.