Dear Mr. Barrera:
It is with grave disappointment that we write this letter.
As an employee of the California Nurses Association, you earn your living from the hard-earned dues dollars of healthcare union members. Yet your actions as a Trustee (and past President) of the San Diego Unified School Board have caused union families in San Diego nothing but unnecessary pain and hardship over the past three years. Rather than serve our School District as a champion of workers, you have chosen to adopt the cynical tactics of the most anti-worker employer in your interactions with your own employees over the past three years.
We have watched in dismay as you have led the School Board in demanding and receiving the deepest concessions any of the San Diego Unified School District’s unions have ever given up, including a ten percent cut to the wages that teachers in our District negotiated with you just two years prior. You have blamed your actions on the state’s struggling economy, suggesting that reason you couldn’t deliver on your often-stated “union principles” was the state’s declining education funding. Yet your most recent actions towards our District’s classified workers demonstrate that this not the case.
Today the decline in funding has stopped. California’s voters passed Proposition 30, and local voters passed an additional Proposition Z to bolster our District’s financial stability. With the hundreds of millions of dollars projected to pour into SDUSD over the next five years, our District’s financial future looks brighter than it has in years. And yet you continue to demand even deeper concessions from our District’s unions. Just last week you voted for a set of bargaining proposals to our police and classified worker unions that include dismantling our District’s hard-earned and wildly successful healthcare benefits trust, as well as including direct attacks on your employees’ salary and benefits by demanding that we adopt the classic union busting-model of “total compensation” bargaining.
Even worse, your proposals include entirely non-economic attacks on a series of core union rights that members in our District have protected for decades. These include attacks on seniority-based transfer rights, eliminating personal business leave, and most shockingly, take-backs on our union rights including limiting our site union stewards’ representational rights.
Mr. Barrera, you call yourself a unionist — but your actions speak louder than your words! You cannot defend workers’ rights by day (for pay) and attack them at night from your bully pulpit on the School Board, and continue to pretend that you are an advocate for workers. To be clear, these proposals did not fall out of the sky. They were crafted by your friend Jennie Carbuccia, your hand-picked, newly hired Executive Director of Labor Relations for SDUSD. These bargaining proposals reflect your priorities, because they are your priorities.
We call on you to immediately make a motion for the Board to withdraw these union-busting bargaining proposals.
And we call on the San Diego labor community to join us in making this demand.
Members of The Breakfast Club Action Group
A San Diego Education Association Union Reform Caucus
Cc: California Labor Community