Clovis Unified educators pushing to form teachers union

Supporters say if they reach 50% plus one out of close to 2,200 Clovis Unified employees, they will be recognized as a union.

Video Transcript

WARREN ARMSTRONG: A group of Clovis unified educators who feel their voices isn't being heard has started a push to form a teacher's union. Action News anchor Dale Yurong joins us live with reaction from teachers who both support and oppose this move, Dale.

DALE YURONG: Warren, supporters say their effort to unionize has been years in the making. They add their frustrations mounted during the pandemic. Those instructors are now asking colleagues to sign a petition to create a union.

Some Clovis unified instructors say their concerns haven't been adequately addressed over the years. Frustrated members of ACE, the Association of Clovis Educators, believe it's time to form a teachers union.

KRISTIN HEIMERDINGER: Teachers have been frustrated for a number of years, not feeling like they really had a meaningful voice, not feeling that their input as experts in the classroom was valued.

DALE YURONG: But the push for unionization already has organized opposition from a group calling itself Clovis Teachers for Clovis.

JONI SUMTER: All of a sudden, this divisive circumstance is kind of adding insult to injury for our community and, I mean, our community of teachers and our community of parents.

RYAN SMITH: I just think there's other avenues that we could go down before we go to what is very permanent and difficult solution to get rid of. Once you're unionized, it's tough to come back from it.

DALE YURONG: Supporters are in the process of collecting signed petitions from teachers, counselors and psychologists. They say if they reach 50% plus one out of close to 2200 Clovis unified employees, they will be recognized as a union.

KRISTIN HEIMERDINGER: The district has avenues right now for teachers to express their opinions and to have a voice. But the issue is that the district is under no obligation to listen to those, to consider those, to adopt those.

DALE YURONG: Heimerdinger has taught at Buchanan High for 28 years. She expects to see the petition-gathering process complete by the end of the school year.

Clovis Unified said in a statement to Action News, "We recognize that during the pandemic, these traditions of collaboration and finding win-win solutions have been challenged given the sharply divided views held on the subject within our community and among our own employee teams."

Reporting live, Dale Yurong, ABC 30 Action News.