Recently CAVA teachers received e-mails from Katrina Abston, CAVA’s Head of School, urging us to not sign the petition to organize. She warned of “lies” and “tricks” that the union would use to get teachers to sign so that CTA could start collecting dues. Though Ms. Abston’s matriarchal tone and cautions would suggest that she is simply watching out for us and wants to protect us from the big, bad union thugs, her e-mails contain a number of “untruths”.
In her first letter to the staff, Ms. Abston advised teachers that in addition to dues there would also be “fees and assessments”. Yes, there will be dues, no one is disputing that. The FAQ sent out by the organizing committee and posted on this website clearly states that. Member dues are what allow CTA to work for us. Unlike K12, CTA is a non-profit organization. CTA uses dues money to advance and protect the profession and the integrity of public education. Currently the expenses incurred by our organizing committee are being taken care of by CTA through dues paid by other members of the organization. Our fellow California teachers are supporting us in our effort to organize. As for the additional “fees and assessments” that is simply not true. There will be no financial cost to union members beyond the monthly dues.
In the same letter Ms. Abston states that “we are all better off without a union getting in the way of our progress, programs, and services to students.” The implication is that CTA is a third party that will come in, take over and tell us what to do. This is also untrue. The union is not a third party, yet another boss we need to contend with, the union is us. It is CAVA teachers who are united to have a say in our students’ education, in the decisions that affect us as professionals, and in the direction of our school’s future. Currently CAVA teachers are leaving in droves. The teachers who have stayed are frustrated and unhappy. Things need to change. The CAVA organizing committee, with the support of CTA, wants to help make CAVA a place where people want to work again.
Finally, in her most recent e-mail, Mrs. Abston claims that CTA is only involved to collect dues. That the association is against charter schools and therefore does not have a genuine interest in supporting us. Please see the link below to the CTA website and CTA’s position on charter schools.
CTA is not against charter schools but feels that, “All charter school employees should be organized to ensure both quality education for students and professional rights for school employees.”
Currently CAVA teachers have no say in any decision regarding changes in the school. Becoming a union and a part of the CTA unites us not only within CAVA but with 325,000 educators across the state. Had we, the employees of CAVA, been satisfied with the terms and conditions of our employment, and the conditions of teaching and learning, there would have been no impetus to organize to improve those. Management has pressed us and de-professionalized much of what we do, and this effort is an expected and logical result. It has been conducted in an honorable, above-board way by passionate and skilled leaders who have the best interests of their students and colleagues in mind, not profits.
Should you have questions or concerns, please reach out to a member of the organizing committee or use the e-mail address listed at the bottom of the home page of this website.
The CAVA organizing committee and CTA are here to support you!