The Clovis Unified School Board will consider approving the district’s first-ever labor contract with certificated employees at Wednesday’s board meeting.
But the contract with the Association of Clovis Educators bargaining unit for school psychologists and mental workers represents only a small portion of the district’s certificated employees, the majority of whom are teachers.
Efforts by ACE to organize teachers, which began in April 2021, have slowed while the union awaits the results of its four unfair labor practice complaints filed against the district with California’s Public Employment Relations Board.
In its complaints, the union alleges that the district unfairly controls and funds the Faculty Senate, which Clovis Unified recognizes as the teachers’ representative in salary and benefits talks.
Typically PERB makes a ruling within 90 days of a hearing, ACE representative Kristin Heimerdinger said Wednesday. But because the union presented a massive amount of testimony and evidence at a lengthy hearing in February, the PERB decision has been delayed, she said.
Faculty Senate Out?
Heimerdinger said ACE officials are hopeful that PERB will disqualify the Faculty Senate as a representative of the teachers, and that the success of the school psychologists in negotiating their first-ever contract with salary, benefits, and work conditions might inspire more teachers to sign on to be represented by ACE.
“We do think that it will have a positive impact if our other educators can see the contract, or I shouldn’t say see the contract, but they can understand what improvements our psychologists were able to negotiate,” she said. “Because obviously it’s not just about salary. That’s a component of it, but it’s also about other working conditions and staffing and caseloads. So we’re hopeful that, yes, other people will see that improvements can be made.”
The ACE bargaining unit representing the school psychologists and mental health workers negotiated over 30 bargaining sessions for competitive salaries, additional resources, and workplace protections, the union said Wednesday in a news release.
If the board approves the contract, the bargaining unit members will receive a 13.75% pay increase retroactive to July 1, 2022, and a 3.5% pay increase in the contract’s second year. The first-year pay hike will bring the district from ninth to sixth place in salary rankings among comparable districts, the union said.
The Clovis School Board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and be held in the Professional Development Building, 1680 David E. Cook Way, Clovis.