Retain teachers, support students, and settle the contract now!

Summit Public Schools Board of Directors

After over two years of bargaining and mediation, Summit Public Schools has yet to settle a first contract with our union, Unite Summit. On March 17, our mediator released us to fact finding, the last step before it is legal to strike. Instead of acting with urgency to address the teacher retention crisis and provide appropriate services for English Learners, Summit’s CEO Diane Tavenner informed our Unite Summit bargaining team on March 18 that she was leaving the country, and for the next 17 days would be unavailable to even respond to emails and would not delegate authority to anyone else on Summit management’s bargaining team to make decisions while she is gone.

This is unacceptable. The teacher hiring season has already begun; Summit needs to settle a fair contract NOW to retain and recruit teachers.

On March 31, Cesar Chavez Day, Summit teachers authorized a strike with a 95% yes vote. This is a serious decision that teachers did not take lightly. We have informed Summit management’s bargaining team what it will take to settle our contract and we remain available to negotiate. But we have gone two years without a contract. Our students and our schools cannot afford to wait any longer. We need a fair contract now.

On May 10, there will be a fact finding hearing, the last step before a potential strike. We hope that Summit uses the fact finding process as an opportunity to settle a fair contract.

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Oakland, CA

To: Summit Public Schools Board of Directors
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned, support Unite Summit in their call for settling a fair contract now. Their demands for a 2-year probationary period so that educators can advocate for their students without fear of retaliation, appropriate class sizes for English Learners, and their opposition to waiving the contract during emergencies are eminently reasonable.

Summit should be doing everything in its power to retain and attract teachers. This is the time for Summit to demonstrate that teachers are valued and supported. Further delays in contract negotiations do the opposite.

We call on the Board to direct Summit management to stop delaying and settle a fair contract now before Summit educators are forced to strike for the contract that their students deserve.