Can you give examples of individual members that have been aided by Goyette & Associates representation?
When solving individual membership issues it varies greatly. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call for our labor representative to make administration aware of an issue and they can successfully diffuse a situation within minutes. In other situations, when the possibility of someone’s job or more importantly someone’s credential was in jeopardy our labor representative jumped to support and guide our members in addition to meeting with administration to successfully resolve these issues.
Would you recommend Goyette & Associates to other teachers associations?
I would recommend the CIT model and G&A to any teachers association who wants experienced professional labor representatives and labor attorneys in their corner. Their daily interaction with individual members and our association’s executive board has created a great working knowledge of how our school operates and the various issues they encounter. This intimate personalized knowledge combined with their experience, expertise, and relationship building has acted as a catalyst for getting our school on track to becoming a highly desirable place to work.
How has your association been helped by having a professional representative guiding you through a contract negotiations?
As a professional educator, my education and training has prepared me for being an effective teacher, however it never prepared me for how to successfully represent employees at disciplinary hearings in danger of losing their jobs or how to prepare and negotiate a comprehensive labor agreement. G&A has brought to the negotiating table an experienced and polished professional negotiating staff and labor attorneys who are experts in their fields and at the top of their game.
What is it like to have the CIT Model working for your association?
Horizon Certificated Employee Association has retained Goyette and Associates since June of 2009. In this relatively short time, G&A has provided our association and its members many comprehensive and competent services by professional representatives including attorneys, professional labor negotiators and access to survey and research departments.
It is great having a multiple labor representatives and attorneys dedicated to our association, its members, and our school. Their intimate knowledge of how our school operates in addition to the understanding the nuances of our labor agreement have changed the dynamic between our school’s administration and our association. In three years G&A has provided exceptional representation for countless grievances, coordinating and overseeing multiple fair association elections, filed several unfair labor practices, provided representation during disciplinary hearings, assisted in the monitoring of school budgets, accounting and business practices in addition to coordinating contract negotiation preparation guidance and successful contract negotiations. G&A’s labor representative assigned to our association provides at a minimum weekly contact regarding personnel issues and any outstanding issues between our association and our school’s administration.
The most impressive aspect of the service provided by G&A is the personal connections they have made with our membership, our association’s executive board, and maybe even more importantly is the mutual bridge of trust, honesty and respect that they have built with our school’s administration and human resources department. The impact of this positive relationship building has had an immeasurable effect on our members, our communication and problem solving with administration, and as a result a better more effective school.
Union Independence, A Better Model
Adopting a model of union independence allows you to control your own destiny, respond to issues as they arise in an expeditious manner, retain attorneys and labor professionals to provide representation and negotiations and most importantly greatly reduce your dues, giving yourself a raise.
As an independent labor association you operate under your own by-laws which can be expeditiously amended by your membership as needed. It is imperative that your organization is fluid to respond to the ever changing landscape of public employee labor relations. You decide when and how to spend your money politically, influencing the politics that have a direct effect on the terms and conditions of your employment.
Attorneys and labor professionals negotiate and enforce labor agreements, meet and confer the employer regarding the terms and conditions of your employment and provide representation during the discipline process through retainer agreements at a rate significantly less than union dues paid to a state-wide union that simply provides shop steward training to your peers.
This model has been proven to be a great value that has been effectively employed by hundreds of police, fire and miscellaneous employee associations.
As an independent association you control your own destiny and have the ability to expeditiously respond to employment issues as they arise and retain attorneys and labor professionals to provide representation versus the shop steward model.
Buckeye Teachers- please join us for one of two informal informational meetings near your schools.
- CIT will be at the Bella Bru Cafe at 3941 Park Dr Ste 70, El Dorado Hills on February 8th and 9th, 2012 after school at 3:00 pm. We would love to answer your questions, get your feedback and chat with you about your upcoming contract expiration.
Black Oak Mine Teachers- please join us for one of two informal informational meetings near your schools.
- CIT will be at the American River Pizza and Grill in Cool (corner of hwy 193 and hwy 49) at 3:00pm on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. We would love to answer your questions, get your feedback and chat with you about your upcoming contract expiration.
- We will be at Rosie’s Garden Cafe in Garden Valley at 3:00pm on Thursday, February 2, 1012. Goergetown, Golden Sierra and Charter teachers are welome and encouraged to come.
Does CTA Have More Clout at the Bargaining Table?
Labor relations in California is very structured with Collective Bargaining Laws in place for all public employees. Collective bargaining for schools K-12 and community colleges is known as the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA) and is contained in the Government Code under Sections 3540-3549.3. All recognized bargaining units in California have the right to meet and confer over terms, hours, wages and conditions of employment. The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) maintains jurisdiction over this legal process. Therefore, the salient question is what does CTA bring to either the bargaining table or political action with our representative School Board that is unique or special?
CTA can provide a negotiator to assist the negotiations team generally made up of subject matter experts, the teachers, and canhelp guide the negotiations process. Likewise, most other public sector unions or associations are represented by professionals at the table who work with their respective subject matter experts (the employees represented). CTA does not have a special stable of negotiators who are the only people that can lead the negotiations team during contract negotiations.
Frankly, if one were to read the Collective Bargaining laws for the different groups of employees in California one would be surprised as to how similar they are. The critical skill needed by the negotiator is the ability to work with the negotiations team to accomplish their local needs. There is not a one size fits all template that can be applied to all school districts any more than it could be applied across the board to all police departments or fire departments. Critical, is experience in the negotiations area and the skill to understand the law and specifically the needs of the local association or union.
Local control is the watchword when it comes to negotiations. What best meets the needs of this group of teachers, rather than the boilerplate that is being put in place everywhere else. The tailoring of the negotiations process to the needs of the local union/association is time consuming, deliberative, and demands individual focus. This is not the time to be buttonholed into some overreaching scheme or approaches that will not work with your board.
Political action with your respective Board of Education is critical to your success. Your local Board of Education sets policy relative to administration and your wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment. Therefore, as stakeholders in the district, once again a local focus is needed. The time spent educating your respective board about the needs of your fellow teachers is paramount. There is not some statewide script that the Board will read that will make them sympathetic to your individual needs. Just the opposite, the law firms that represent the Districts provide them with training in all facets of labor relations and often that training seems somewhat anti-employee. Under the proper guidance of a labor relations professional working with the local union/association, the employee organization works to develop a relationship where they can educate the Board relative to the needs of the teachers in the district. While we compare our wages and benefits with other professionals in other districts, the hard core reality is that we must have a majority vote of “our” board to enhance our prospects and protect our jobs and benefits.
This is not about the appearance of statewide muscle but about the effort that is done locally to develop relationships with the policy makers that affect us. This is not about money flowing to legislative or congressional campaigns relative to educational policy or to pad the lifestyles of big union leaders. It is about relationships that educate our local policy makers to support our local needs. The California police and fire associations have found that local focus and local control has propelled them into the highest paid professionals in the public sector. Collectively, police officers pay less than $10 per person per month to their statewide organization yet have the best retirement system, highest wages and benefits of public employees associations in the State. There is a local control and direction model that will work for the teachers associations. Let’s learn something from our public safety sector.
“Our unit grew tired of the inadequate representation offered by our big international union. Goyette and Associates has been instrumental in our transition to self representation. From bylaws to Agency Shop membership, Goyette has helped us through the process of establishing an employee association. They are responsive, accurate, and friendly as well. Goyette has made it clear that they are more interested in a long term relationship with our group than they are in making a few extra dollars. I would recommend Goyette to any employee group looking to take control of their own representation.”
President, Chico Employees Association
What is CIT’s Political Agenda?
We don’t have one; we have a service agenda to provide teachers with a model of representation that is more responsive, effective and far less costly than the CTA model. Politically, our team is all over the ideological spectrum. Our “agenda” is to give teachers the information and tools to decide for themselves whether they want to stay tied to CTA or be independent. What the independent teacher associations decide to do politically (assuming they want to even get involved in politics) is totally up to them.
So you are prepared, CTA will inevitably accuse us of being conservative and/or liberal extremists out to destroy (“bust”) the unions. Odd, considering we are, labor professionals representing employee associations every day.