After many months of grassroots organizing, nearly 80 percent of Gompers Preparatory Academy (GPA) teachers determined they would join the effort for unionization at the San Diego charter school. Educators were granted official recognition by the Public Employment Review Board (PERB) on January 2, 2019. With nearly 100 new unit members, GPA is the largest charter school organized by San Diego Education Association (SDEA).
After years of teacher turnover that limited campus stability, teachers at GPA determined to organize the Academy because they want to have a stronger voice in decisions that impact the success of students. They believe by having educators’ voices at the table, it will provide ideas and improvements that will address ongoing teacher recruitment and retention issues.
Charter school educators are increasingly turning to representational organizing within the boundaries of San Diego Unified School District to make progress in improving standards for educators and students in their institutions. SDEA already represents educators at Harriet Tubman Village Charter School in the College Area and Iftin Charter School in City Heights, in addition to newly-organized Gompers Preparatory Academy in southeastern San Diego.
For Gompers members, this marks the beginning of a relationship of greater parity with Academy management; it’s a relationship they are taking seriously. Their bargaining team will meet and prepare in March for their inaugural bargaining session with academy officials next month.
Negotiators are making the attraction and retention of great teachers their number one priority in their first bargaining cycle. By joining with managers in confronting this issue, it creates an opportunity to collaborate on a resolution to the ongoing problem of high turnover rates that continues to limit the development of a climate of trust and stability so vital to successful schools.