FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Terry Carter, Spokesperson
213-700-5617 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Preschool teachers and other employees of Orange County Head Start (OCHS) learned this week that their charge of election interference was successful. They won the right to hold a new election to decide whether or not to retain their union representation. The National Labor Relations Board, which investigates and decides in such complaints, overturns less than 1% of the elections held. OCHS manages 22 early education centers throughout Orange County.
Leading up to the June 4th and 5th election, employees reported mandatory anti-union meetings, intimidation, and aggressive misinformation. Particularly egregious was a letter sent by then-Executive Director Lucía Palacios to all OCHS employees, which arrived only two days before the election, claiming that their union, Service Employees International Union Local 99, had no impact on their wages, benefits, and rights on the job—a claim that the NLRB found to be completely false and was clearly designed to unfairly influence the election.
“We’re the frontline workers when it comes to delivering education and services. We want to maintain our strong, united voice when decisions are being made about our jobs. We are thrilled that the NLRB decision gives us another chance to stay united,” says Maria Monteblanco, a Head Start teacher at Walter Elementary School. “And, we look forward to working with OCHS management to improve the quality of education for the children and families we serve.”
NLRB Hearing Officer Liz Valtierra writes, “I recommend that the Board find that Orange County Head Start, Inc. engaged in conduct during the critical pre-election period which interfered with the election, and it is hereby recommended that the previously-conducted election be set aside and that a new election be conducted.” Later in her report she continues, “I do not believe that
SEIU Local 99 is a union of more than 43,000 dedicated education workers who guide our children from preschool and kindergarten, through grade school, high school, and at community colleges. We are teachers, paraeducators, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, first responders, and others working in schools, colleges, and administrative offices throughout Southern California. We are part of SEIU International, the fastest-growing union in North America with 2.1 million members.