If you’re interested in attending the SESCC Ethnic Minority Leadership Development Reception, the deadline to RSVP is today! Complimentary dinner will be served, along with a cash bar.

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2017 CTA Summer Institute

By: Glenda Arellano, LTA Director of Middle Schools

August 21, 2017

 

This has been quite a busy summer. Your union has been continuously working and preparing to represent you. As a part of these preparations, I was asked to join our newly elected board members at the CTA Summer Institute. The CTA-led institute was held on the campus of UCLA from Sunday, July 30th, to Thursday, August 3rd, and consisted of several strands of intense training for many levels of union representatives. The strands we attended were Essentials of Bargaining and Finance. Both of these strands focused on preparing us for the upcoming bargaining sessions.

I was full of nerves and apprehension when I started the training. My stress level came down as I began to realize I was in good hands. There were representatives in the training from all levels of experience. Many were newcomers like me, but there were also seasoned bargainers with years of bargaining experience and even prior bargaining chairs. All of us in the group were fortunate to learn from the shared knowledge of each other, and of course, our wise leaders. We started day one learning about the importance of preparation and organization, and techniques to improve our abilities in both. We added verbal skills helpful in making successful arguments and began studying the EERA and PERB cases and statutes, which lead us along the way. In addition, we learned about our collective rights as an association and the power that comes with these rights.

Our instructors shared secrets of how to find “hidden” sources of funds in the district’s budget, as well as helpful strategies as to when to disclose our knowledge of these funds. We were further educated on understanding the LCAP. Of course, no training would be complete without practice, and we had plenty of that. We were placed into teams, given scenarios, budgets, and goals, and were told to bargain, sometimes on the side of the school board, and other times on the side of the association. We used all our tools, from positioning the meeting room and setting norms, to negotiating, caucusing, and ultimately reaching a tentative agreement or moving to impasse. It was only five days, but this training was intense and thorough and has me feeling prepared to bargain for what we deserve.

As a brand new member of the Executive Board, I feel an extreme pressure to serve us all well. I joined the board to learn more about how the association and the process works. I believe that if I am a part of something, I need to understand it and fully participate. I recognize that the power of the union is in its members, each and every one of us, organized and unified together. When we reach that level of organization, we have unlimited potential. That potential gives us power and respect, and can instill fear in those attempting to treat us unjustly. While the Summer Institute filled me with new knowledge, the most important thing I learned is that none of it is any good without a strong, organized, and unified membership base. With this in mind, I look forward to working with each and every one of you and wish us all a successful school year.