Jennifer Woods

I was in a district for 20 years, that had a union.  It was miserable.  In my experience unions can have a negative effect on a district.  In a union, it is still a negotiation between the teachers and the school board.  Many times, the school board is looking at the fiscal impact negotiations will have on the district’s budget 3-5 years in the future.  The union doesn’t see it that way.  In my experience, the union pushes to put the teachers on top, instead of working together for the betterment of the district as a whole. I was a part of the negotiating team which had to FIGHT for, what we felt, was fair and just.  For example, we had to BEG to get a 1% COLA raise.  But before the district would give us our COLA of 1%, we had to give them more students in the classroom.  Whenever we asked for a raise, it was leaked out into the community how much percentage “salaries” were in the budget.  Somewhere around 80% of the budget is usually salaries.  What the community hears is: “Teachers are taking 80% of the budget and this is taking away from the kids.”  The reality is, “salaries” includes everyone in the district, not just teachers.  This is not what the community hears at all. I was attacked by the community because of my involvement with the union.  We were asking for our 1% COLA and the community felt we didn’t have the right to ask for a raise because it was taking away from the kids.  In this case, many teachers got “blacklisted” and vicious things were said about us throughout the community.  Unbeknown to us, we were being gossiped about at the community gatherings (like football, baseball, and soccer youth games, at church, etc.)  Unions can be nasty on the teachers, community, and ALL the relationships around a school district. It creates an animosity and makes the community decide between one side or the other.  Everything is a FIGHT. One of the reasons I pursued coming to Clovis Unified was because they didn’t have a union.  Since moving to Clovis Unified, I have not had a reason to feel that I need a union to represent me.  The community in this district has been a breath of fresh air.  Clovis Unified has had nothing but understanding of what we are all truly here for. We work together as a team to help everyone

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