Bargaining Unit 3 members of SEIU Local 1000 met with State representatives twice in the month of December 2022 to confer on the proposed 2023-2024 Academic Calendar for the teachers in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Correctional Education (OCE).

In our first meeting on December 8, our discussion focused on the removal of flex days and the impact this change creates on BU 3 teachers. We expressed our frustration about the lack of flexibility and the reduced ability for self-care. Prior to the new calendar, leave time was distributed in such a way that there were some non-working days every quarter. This allowed employees to take time off at regular intervals in order to alleviate stress, exhaustion, and burnout. We questioned the Department regarding what went into consideration of developing this calendar. The response we received was patterns in absenteeism and schedules of employees with children in public schools. After taking a caucus, the team decided to work on a proposal to pass to the State.

On December 12, three members of the BUNC guided by SEIU Local 1000 assigned staff met to craft an aggressive proposal and response to a disturbing calendar which removed our four flex days. During the time given, the team consisting of Robert Holtz, Terry Hibbard, Barbara Guzman, and John Richards, delved deeply into creating a forward thinking and well-crafted proposal they felt benefited the students, the State, and staff.

To mitigate the impact, the team proposed the following:

  1. Prepare and distribute a 4/10 calendar. This would allow employees to explore alternative schedules that may increase their flexibility in managing unexpected or immovable life events. It would also allow employees to better manage their transportation budgets during this economic downturn. This would also allow teachers to have a solid block of time for lesson planning. Increases X time because employees have a day in the week they can schedule appoints during business hours.
  2. Increase the number of allowable PDD days from two days to five. This would compensate for the loss of flex days from the calendar.
  3. Allow employees to bank unused PDD time annually. This would allow employees to prepare for significant life events that are unplanned or cannot be scheduled during the designated leave time on the Academic Calendar.
  4. Access to staff on professional development days. Proposed time frame: After 10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
  5. Calendared non-instructional days monthly and quarterly due dates 2023: August 31, September 29, October 3, October 31, November 30, December 20 or 22.
  6. 2024: January 8, January 31, February 29, March 22, April 2, April 30, May 31, June 21, July 9, July 31.
  7. To be noticed before the calendar goes out – 30 days prior to November 15.

The team also crafted and proposed two different calendars for the State to consider. These were the highlights of each calendar proposed:

  • Calendar A: 220-day calendar; 12 training days; 10 days in December for holidays; 10 around 4th of July for summer break; about 13 flex days; State holidays.
  • Calendar B: 220-day calendar with 6 flex days.

All of the six proposals have been rejected. The State representatives made it clear that they have parameters to stay within when considering proposals. OCE decided to unilaterally implement the proposed 2023-2024 Academic Calendar.

Our team agreed that this meeting gave us a greater understanding of issues that exist in our current contract language in regards to academic calendars.

Our contract requires proposed academic calendars to be provided to SEIU Local 1000 by November 15 of the previous year. This year, the proposed calendar was provided one week late. It has been an ongoing violation, and a grievance has been filed.

By exercising our right to meet and confer with the Department over the structure of the academic calendar, our team was able to bring our members voices directly to the attention of the Department and ensure that our efforts to keep our members involved continues.