On March 8, SEIU Local 99 members and classified staff at The Accelerated Schools (TAS), a charter school in South Los Angeles, voted to overwhelmingly ratify their tentative agreement with TAS management. For over two years, TAS educators wore stickers, held rallies, vigils, testified at board meetings, and hosted community food banks to bring attention to their fight at TAS. For years, employees at TAS dealt with poverty wages, zero paid holidays, minimal sick days, and disrespect on the job.

“The most positive thing about this contract is the changes in wages. I wasn’t aware of how some of my coworkers were highly impacted by low wages. Also, one of the biggest benefits that I’ve ever seen, working at a regular school district and now at a charter, was the fact that intervention aides and AI that work inside of the classroom that has a degree like a Bachelor’s are going to be paid an 8% raise – I’ve never seen that anywhere.  Our paid holidays are going to benefit every member at TAS because although you may work 10 or 12 months not being paid for each holiday in the school year it really affects your paycheck. The paid sick leave – being able to accrue 16 hours for the following school year if you don’t use them – that’s also something huge. Overall, I feel we had strong leadership in this fight that was able to guide us through what a fair contract is and together, we accomplished something many of thought we’d never see at TAS,” said Eva Barba, Instructional Aide and Bargaining Committee Member at TAS.

This new agreement will lift the standard of living for every TAS employee and bring good jobs to one of Los Angeles poorest neighborhoods.

Here are some of the highlights.

Wages That Raise the Standard of Living

Effective upon ratification…

  • All employees receive a one-time bonus of 2% of all earnings from July 1, 2016 through date of ratification.
  • All employees with current hourly wages below $13.50/hour will get a raise to at least $14.31/hour.
  • Custodians and Food Service Workers with at least 7 years of service at TAS will get a raise to $14.58/hour (unless their hourly rate is already higher).
  • Classroom Aides (including Intervention Aides) with a Bachelor’s degree or higher will get an 8% increase.
  • All other employees not listed above will get a 6% salary increase.

Effective July 1, 2020…

  • All employees get a 2.5% wage increase, with a minimum rate of $15.00/hour.

Effective July 1, 2021…

  • All employees get a 2.5% wage increase.

Paid Holidays

All employees will receive the following 7 paid holidays: Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, day after Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day. Previously, there were no paid holidays.

Sick Leave to care for ourselves and our families

Employees will receive 32 hours of paid sick leave per 12-month period through the “front load” method July 1 of each year. Employees may carry over up to 16 hours of accrued paid sick leave to the following 12-month period starting on July 1.  Accordingly, employees stop earning sick leave once he/she has accrued 48 hours of paid sick leave, and employees shall not maintain greater than 48 total hours of paid sick leave.  Unused sick leave is not cashed out upon termination or other separation from employment.

Examples:

  1. Employee has 0 hours of accrued sick leave on June 30, 2020. She has no sick leave to carry over. So on July 1, 2021, the employee would have a total of 32 hours of paid sick leave.
  2. Employee has 8 hours of accrued sick leave on June 30, 2020. She would be able to carry over the 8 hours into the following fiscal year. So, on July 1, 2021, the employee would have a total of 40 hours of paid sick leave.
  3. Employee has 16 hours of accrued sick leave on June 30, 2020. She would be able to carry over 16 hours into the following fiscal year. So, on July 1, 2021, the employee would have a total of 48 hours of paid sick leave (because of the cap on paid sick leave of 48 hours).
  4. Employee has 24 hours of accrued sick leave on June 30, 2020. She would be able to carry over 16 hours into the following fiscal year. So, on July 1, 2021, the employee would have a total of 48 hours of paid sick leave (because of the cap on paid sick leave of 48 hours).
  5. Employee has 32 hours of accrued sick leave on June 30, 2020. She would be able to carry over 16 hours into the following fiscal year. So, on July 1, 2021, the employee would have a total of 48 hours of paid sick leave (because of the cap on paid sick leave of 48 hours).

Respect and a Voice on the Job

Contracting out: TAS will provide union members with 60 days advanced notice of the decision to contract out unit work and will provide union members with the opportunity to meet and discuss the impact of such decisions.

Joint Labor-Management Committee: TAS agrees to establish a labor-management committee so we can discuss worksite issues and concerns directly with management – even when we are not in contract negotitions –  and make recommendations to address any problems.

Let’s Keep Standing Union Strong!

The agreement must now be ratified by the TAS Board of Trustees which will meet on March 12, 2019. The contract will be in effect upon ratification and expires December 31, 2021. But our fight is far from over! Together, we must continue to hold charter schools like TAS accountable, making them fair and decent employers for our communities. We can continue to do this by speaking out against poverty wages and bad employers because every community and worker deserve quality schools, better lives.