Vote to remove SDEA union scheduled to begin May 10. In previous attempt to remove union, union officials were able to delay vote for nearly two years
San Diego, CA (April 28, 2023) – California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has recently issued an election notice to the employees of Gompers Preparatory Academy, a public charter school in San Diego. Just over two months after employees there submitted a petition, they will be able to cast their vote on whether to remove San Diego Education Association (SDEA) union bosses’ so-called “representation.”
This election notice comes after computer teacher Sean Bentz submitted a decertification petition to PERB in March containing signatures of a majority of the teachers under the SDEA union’s control. Bentz filed the new decertification petition renewing the fight to oust the union at the earliest time permitted by California labor regulations, which immunize union officials from employee-led decertification efforts for almost the entire duration of a union contract. Bentz is receiving free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.
According to the election notice promulgated by PERB, the voting period begins on May 10, 2023, and ends on June 6, 2023. The votes are to be counted on June 7, 2023. Due to current guidelines imposed by PERB, the election will be by mail ballot.
The announcement of this vote is a victory for Gompers Preparatory employees who previously had to wait nearly two years for a vote following an earlier petition. In that instance, Gompers chemistry teacher Dr. Kristie Chiscano submitted a decertification petition in October 2019 with free legal aid from the Foundation. However, despite this petition having the backing of the requisite number of teachers for a vote, SDEA union bosses worked to subvert the election by filing so-called “blocking charges,” containing allegations of employer misconduct.
Despite their never holding a hearing into whether SDEA union bosses’ claims had any merit, PERB officials delayed the decertification vote nearly two years, giving union officials time to undermine support for removing the union. Union attacks against prominent supporters of the decertification petition also resulted in charges against the union at the PERB for illegal intimidation.
Gompers made an impressive transition to being a union-free charter school in 2005 after years of being plagued by unresponsive union bureaucracies, violence, and poor academic achievement. However, the union was imposed again in January 2019 via “card check,” an abuse-prone process that bypasses the traditional secret-ballot vote system. Many teachers and parents have long viewed the reinstallation of union power at the school with suspicion. Many accused SDEA agents of actively sowing division at the school, including by supporting anti-charter school legislation and needlessly disparaging the school’s leadership.
“We are pleased that the teachers of Gompers Preparatory Academy are set to get a prompt vote on whether to remove SDEA union officials from their workplace. We hope union officials will not again resort to underhanded tactics to subvert the voices of teachers who wish to end the union’s so-called ‘representation,’” stated Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “The history of the Gompers school is one of throwing off the chains of a union monopoly and then thriving as a result, and we’re proud to stand with these teachers who are seeking to exercise their right to do that now.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in around 250 cases nationwide per year.