Our Alliance Community

FAQs for Alliance Educators & School Community

In response to the many questions we have received regarding the UTLA campaign at Alliance, we have put together answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

  • FACT: UTLA is the union that represents 31,000 teachers in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).  UTLA’s activities are funded by union member dues, which are $689 per member annually.1 Alliance Educators United (AEU) is a group of some teachers at some Alliance schools that was started by and has financial backing from UTLA. They do not legally represent Alliance teachers, and AEU website and materials do not represent Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

  • FACT: UTLA and its statewide and national affiliates have a consistent track record of opposing and fighting the existence and expansion of charter schools.
    • UTLA’s Proposed Charter School Policy states “UTLA does oppose the vast majority of charter management organizations and other charter entities, which represent an attack on our schools, our unions, our students and our communities.1
    • Current UTLA President Alex Caputo Pearl has demeaned charter schools and their teachers, saying “I don't see a lot of value in them.”2
    • In the last election, UTLA spent more than $541,000 to support the re-election of an LAUSD Board member who vigorously opposed charter schoolsand who voted to deny the renewal of ten Alliance schools4.  
    • UTLA routinely uses member dues to support legislation opposing charter schools5
  • FACT: UTLA has not been upfront with teachers about its own position on charter schools. 
    • On March 26, 2015, two weeks after UTLA launched their organizing campaign at Alliance schools, UTLA removed more than 25 links and pages on the UTLA website that reference the union's policies, practice and rhetoric opposing charter schools.  

[4] For record of school board votes on charter schools, contact the LAUSD Board Secretariat by calling 213-241-7002 or e-mailing jefferson.crain@lausd.net

[5] Recent legislation includes AB 917, AB 401 and AB 1172 

  • FACT: UTLA, with support from national teachers’ umbrella union, the American Federation of Teachers, has been trying to organize Alliance teachers for several years.They have stated so publicly and have funded those efforts with significant resources. Unionizing Alliance would generate more than $450,000 annually from Alliance teachers’ union dues.
  • FACT: Prior to the May 2015 contract agreement with LAUSD, teachers represented by UTLA in LAUSD went for four years without a contract agreementand eight years without a pay increase.2
  • FACT: UTLA has not been able to prevent lay-offs. In spring 2015, the LAUSD Board voted for another 609 teacher lay-offs.3
  • FACT: UTLA has been unable to secure smaller class sizes at LAUSD. In the recent contract agreement with LAUSD, UTLA was unable to guarantee the hiring of additional teachers to reduce class size.The LAUSD 2014-15 budget shows that average class size at middle and high schools is 34 to 42.5 students depending on demographics.The Alliance 2014-15 school budgets are based on an average class size of 30 students. 
  • FACT:  UTLA has been running their union at an operating deficit for the past 10 years. In August 2015, UTLA President announced at Union Leadership Conference that UTLA would seek a $228 increase in annual union dues to each member, bringing individual member annual dues to $917.
  • FACT: Joining the union only guarantees teachers the right to collective bargaining. It does not guarantee increased pay, benefits and any other working conditions. Every item must be negotiated.
  • FACT: When a union gains representational rights, it becomes the exclusive representative of the employees. That means that the union will speak on your behalf, even if you did not want the union. The union creates a barrier to the collaborative working relationship of teachers with their school leaders. While teachers could continue to speak with their principal about any issues in the workplace, no resolution could take place unless it was consistent with the union’s position.1
  • FACT: The union, not the teachers, ultimately decides what to propose in negotiation. If and when a union contract goes into effect at a school, all teachers at that school are covered, whether or not they signed a card or voted for the union.  There is no “opting out.”
  • FACT:  Joining UTLA increases greatly the likelihood you would have to pay dues, which are currently $689.04/year.

[1] National Labor Relations Act, Section 9(a), and Educational Employment Relations Act, Section 3543(a)

  • FACT: As charter schools, Alliance schools are granted autonomy from the overly rigid bureaucracy of traditional districts and, yes, the bureaucracy of unions. Our teachers and employees have the freedom to continually innovate, learn and improve, so we can meet the needs of individual students and provide all students the very best education.  Unionization fundamentally puts at risk our core values, our collaborative working environment, and most importantly, the flexibility and autonomy that has allowed us to become one of the highest performing public school networks in the country.
  • FACT: Alliance teachers earn significantly more than teachers in LAUSD schools with a UTLA contract.1,2
    • In addition, Alliance counselors earned 16% pay increases over the past two years.  Alliance believes in performance-based compensation that rewards and incentivizes excellence. UTLA does not support performance-based compensation of any kind.
  • FACT: Alliance teachers receive generous benefits, including participation in the California State Teacher Retirement System (STRS).
  • FACT: Alliance teachers have a voice in critical school decisions. 
    • Unlike traditional public schools, Alliance teachers hold two seats on each Alliance school board where they participate in important decisions, including the approval of the school’s budget.
    • Alliance teachers also consult on broad range of important decisions facing Alliance schools through School Site Councils, Instructional Leadership Teams and the Alliance-wide Teacher Advisory Panel. 
    • Teachers participated in defining which curriculum and instructional technology devices would be used on their campuses for the 2015-16 school year.
  • FACT: Alliance has a fair and transparent evaluation process that was developed over many years with input from teachers.
    • Multiple evaluation measures (classroom observation, student academic growth, parent and student surveys) provide a well-rounded and comprehensive look at teacher performance.
    • Alliance’s Framework for Effective Teaching is used by thousands of other school systemsand provides a consistent and clear set of shared expectations for both teachers and school leaders.
  • FACT: Alliance’s goal is to retain good teachers. We value the expertise of our teachers highly and take staffing decisions very seriously.  Per our employee handbook, our teachers have due process rights for any disciplinary action, including dismissal. Over the past two, years only 1% of teachers were let go for cause or poor performance. Additionally, Alliance has a formal means for teachers to express any concern or file any complaints about any aspect of their job or work environment without fear of harassment or retaliation. 
  • FACT: Alliance schools have smaller classes sizes than the traditional LAUSD Schools.  
  • FACT: Alliance is a financially sound, dynamic and growing organization. In contrast, LAUSD schools where UTLA contracts are in place, teachers have experienced years of lay-offs.Alliance has never had a reduction in forces. On the contrary, we continue to add new teachers each year.
  • FACT: Teachers have the right to decide for themselves, free from coercion from anyone, whether they want - or don’t want - to be represented by a union. You do not have to sign anything if you do not want to do so.  
  • FACT: The union can say or promise anything to get you to sign a union authorization card. The union can even lie or mislead you and your signature will still be valid.A union authorization card is a binding legal document, which gives the union the exclusive right to speak on your behalf in the workplace. A signed card can result in unionization without an election.2

[1] There is no statutory provision prohibiting misrepresentations by a union or rendering a signed authorization card invalid because the employee signed in reliance upon misrepresentation.

[2] National Labor Relations Act, Section 9(c) and National Labor Relations Board Rules & Regulations Manual, Section 101.17, and Educational Employment Relations Act, Section 3544 (a)

GET ALL THE FACTS.

EDUCATE YOURSELF BEFORE SIGNING ANYTHING AS YOU MAY BE SIGNING A LEGALLY BINDING DOCUMENT FOR UNIONIZATION AND NOT AN “INDICATION OF INTEREST.”

ONCE UNIONIZATION OCCURS, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO REMOVE THE UNION.

FOR UPDATES AND ADDITIONAL FACTS, GO TO www.OurAllianceCommunity.org

Authorized by Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. Not paid for with public funds. Content on this site has been reviewed by legal counsel.