State finds Clovis Unified improperly backed Faculty Senate

While a group of Clovis Unified teachers sought to unionize, the district had supported Faculty Senate with preferential treatment.

A ruling from the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) found that Clovis Unified School District illegally supported the Faculty Senate to impede efforts to organize a teachers union. 

This comes after the Association of Clovis Educators (ACE) failed to gain enough support from Clovis teachers to form a union. 


Driving the news: The ruling found that the district had provided preferential treatment and financial support to the Faculty Senate, effectively preventing the organization of a teachers’ union. 

  • This ruling upholds a previous PERB decision from 1984 that ordered the district to cease its support of the Faculty Senate.
  • The ruling also determined that both the district and the Faculty Senate violated the Education Employment Relations Act by providing stipends and time off to teachers serving as Faculty Senate members.
  • Additionally, the Faculty Senate collected signatures for another labor organizing group called the Clovis Teachers Organization, a rival of ACE. 
  • The district will be required to delete language in emails from former Superintendent Eimear O’Brien and documents that support the Faculty Senate as the representative of teachers and advocate against joining a labor union.
  • The ruling found that the guidance document called “Doc’s Charge,” which emphasizes the district’s non-union status, was the most explicit in advocating against unions and must be removed from display in district locations.
  • The PERB decision, which is still pending appeals, would give ACE one year from the date of the final ruling to complete its signature-gathering. ACE had started to gather signatures in April 2021. 

What they’re saying: ACE organizer Kristin Heimerdinger said the union was very pleased that PERB recognized and denounced the illegal behavior. 

  • “Both parties should be ashamed that they’ve been knowingly breaking the law for 40 years,” Heimerdinger said. “It’s regrettable that we had to take legal action to compel the district to follow the law, but we are thankful that the ruling makes clear their illegal behavior must stop.”
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