Member Action Protects Teacher Prep Time Rights


Action by two Unit 3 stewards and our union’s Contract Department forced management at the California Correctional Center in Susanville to rescind a policy that prevented our teachers from having the time necessary for classroom preparation—a right specifically guaranteed by our contract.

The unilaterally imposed policy treated our members like hourly employees, violating the spirit of the FSLA-exempt status we’ve worked so hard to preserve. Sections 19.1.3, 21.15.3 and 24.1 B in our contract enable our teachers to work as many hours as needed to fulfill their responsibilities, whether it is working late, inside the classrooms, or making use of facilities located off-site in order to prepare educational materials.

Unit 3 Stewards Sally Rice and Freda Russell, and Unit 1 DBUR Deborah Abbott of DLC 792, brought the issue forward to Bruce Theel, the Unit 3 Bargaining Chair. Our Contract staff issued a Cease and Desist letter to the Labor Relations Office at CDCR, and the policy was rescinded.

“This is a great example of why I chose to be in a union,” said Freda Russell, one of the affected teachers at the California Correctional Center, Susanville. “Without a union, our working conditions and rights are at risk.”

Our contract requires that the state must provide our union with prior notice of changes in policy that impact our working conditions. This allows the union to ensure the changes don’t violate our contract rights and gives us the opportunity to mitigate the impact of those changes before they go into effect.