Our Unit 21 educators went to the table Friday with a focus on creating an employee culture that embraces the diversity of the California Department of Education (CDE) workforce.

“Our goal is to create a culture and environment that encourages more professional and personal growth for our members and having an open dialogue with the state is a good start” said Miguel Cordova, Unit 21 bargaining chair.

CDE employee Sharla Smith spoke with the state negotiators about the need for greater cultural sensitivity and acceptance of different racial, sexual, and religious backgrounds, and in opposition to biases against differently-abled and older employees. Melissa Tyler, an archivist at the Secretary of State, supported the importance of these needs in our agencies.

While dealing with the public is required of many BU 21 members, changing school curriculums and other polarizing issues can create tense situations that require safety training to help mitigate. Our proposal today also reflects that need.

Friday’s Unit 21 proposals include:

  • Establish professional assessment and development committees to create training opportunities that encourage career growth and enhance the skills and knowledge of CDE employees. A component of that training would include diversity acceptance.
  • Stronger language that prioritizes training CDE employees how to deal with hostile and threatening behavior from the public.
  • Empowers Unit 21 employees to request additional safety equipment to do their job while minimizing the risk.

Our Unit 21 team proposed to “roll over” three existing contract articles from our previous contract and signed 10 tentative agreements that preserved previously-presented rollover language.

We’ll continue to report the progress of Unit 21’s slate of contract proposals as bargaining continues this week.