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Special SECTION ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


November/December 2019



CSEA HEADQUARTERS (408) 473-1000 TOLL-FREE: (800) 632-2128






President’s Message A simple gift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


From the Capitol Governor signs CSEA bills . . . . . . . . . .


Around the State Local heroes, chapter victories . . . . . .


FEATURE Veterans Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8


CSEA veterans pass on legacy of service


Union Resurgence Approval of unions soars . . . . . . . . .


Get Active Make a difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Pre-Retirement Seminars Plan ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Paraeducator Conference Event returns to SoCal . .


MEMBER BENEFITS TOLL-FREE: (866) ITS-CSEA (487-2732) COSTA Y VALLES (818) 244-1545   (800) 834-9959 FRESNO (559) 226-4200   (800) 439-6626 NORTH BAY (925) 676-5755   (800) 464-7717 ORANGE (714) 532-3766   (800) 564-9979 RANCHO CUCAMONGA (909) 466-1006  (800) 526-9297 RIVER DELTA (209) 472-2170   (800) 757-4229

CSEA Board of Directors Ben Valdepeña Association President

Monica Han Secretary

Frank Rodriguez Area B

Carmen Alessandro Area E

Bill Hagar Area H

Matthew “Shane” Dishman 1st Vice President

Allan D. Clark Past President

Machelle Kessinger Area C

Dale Sorenson Area F

Don Snyder Area I

Adam Weinberger 2nd Vice President

Wayne Harris Area A

Rameldia Mark Area D

Ivan Pastrano Area G

Bea Mora Area K

Issue 2, FOCUS (ISSN 1541-0692) is published bimonthly with a special issue in June by the California School Employees Association, 2045 Lundy Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131, (408) 473-1000. Periodical postage paid at San Jose, CA (USPS 20624) and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and form 3579 to FOCUS, 2045 Lundy Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131. ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION rate of $2.25 for Focus is included in membership dues; $2.25 yearly for non members. ADVERTISEMENTS do not constitute any endorsements by CSEA or entitle any advertiser to special consideration from CSEA members or staff. ARTICLES, photographs, letters to the editor and related items are welcome. Editorial policy dictates the right to edit or reject all material submitted for publication. Views and statements of contributors are not necessarily those of CSEA. Copyright 2019 California School Employees Association. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Keith Pace; COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, Karen Chandler; ASSISTANT COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, Sam Felsing; NEW MEDIA COORDINATOR, Brad Washburn; SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST, Shannon Carr; CONTENT WRITER, Angelica Cabral; SENIOR DESIGN COORDINATOR, Jessica Salam; MULTIMEDIA/DESIGN SPECIALISTS, Justin Garcia, Nathan Nakao; ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, Katherine Miller.

SACRAMENTO (916) 725-1188   (800) 582-7314 SAN DIEGO (858) 458-0300   (800) 675-9939 SANTA FE (626) 258-3300   (800) 988-6949 SOUTH BAY (408) 261-7990   (800) 487-2440

Our mission: 

To improve the lives of our members, students and community.


A simple gift Ben Valdepeña


s we wrap up the year, I am pleased to announce that we will renew the Engaging Members for Success (EMS) program next year. This program connects new leaders with veteran leaders April 25-26 for a weekend of mentor/mentee trainings. Leaders will continue to work with their mentor or mentee throughout the year, learning from and supporting each other. Applications are currently being accepted and can be accessed through our website at When many voices come together, one powerful voice can be heard.

“We are grateful for all the first responders who continue to fight the wildfires and protect our members, students, families and communities.” I’d also like to thank all of our members who have given so generously to those that have been affected

by the wildfires throughout California. We are grateful for all the first responders who continue to fight the wildfires and protect our members, students, families and communities.

“Remember, a smile, a “thank you”, a “job well done” are simple gifts that have a lasting impact.” The holiday season is a special time of year for me. It is during this time that I find myself being extra positive and “jolly”. It’s the season for appreciating and thanking people in your life. I appreciate you, our members, for the work you do each day, for being leaders and volunteers within the union and for making our students’ health and well-being a priority. Please reach out during the holidays and thank each other for the work you do. Without you, our schools would not be a clean, safe and healthy environment for students. The truth is, the best presents of the holiday season aren’t gifts that come wrapped, nor fit neatly under the Christmas tree. These gifts cannot be packaged, and their value is priceless. The holidays take

on a different meaning for each of us, so take a moment to notice the people around you as their holiday may not be so “jolly”. There are few gifts that I can remember from my childhood, but I do remember a day when I was feeling stressed and the “thank you” and smile, I received from a coworker. This small gesture completely shifted my day and filled me with joy. Remember, a smile, a “thank you”, a “job well done” are simple gifts that have a lasting impact. This holiday season, take time to smile, smell the holiday cookies and thank the people around you. The small gift of a “thank you” may become a priceless memory for someone. You just may change someone’s holiday season. Happy holidays! In Solidarity,


Governor signs landmark charter school reform bills by Brad Washburn,


application could be denied if academic overnor Gavin Newsom signed programs or services provided by the two landmark charter school local district would be substantially bills, CSEA-sponsored bill AB 1505 undermined by approval of a charter (O’Donnell) and CSEA-supported school. Charter school petitions will bill AB 1507 (Smith), taking a major also now have to identify how they will step forward in reforming California’s maintain a balance of special education decades-old charter school laws. and English lanCSEA legislative advocates were “This legislation puts the needs guage learning stuinstrumental in dents that reflects of all California students first getting these pieces the community. of legislation passed. by holding charter schools Charter school accountable.” more From participating teachers will have in the governor’s to abide by the charter school taskforce to advocating same safety, fingerprinting and credirectly to state legislators and the dentialing requirements as traditional, governor’s office, CSEA played an public school teachers. Also, a two-year active role throughout the process. “As classified employees, we often see the effects that charter schools have on our local districts and in our communities,” said Association President Ben Valdepeña. “This legislation puts the needs of all California students first by holding charter schools more accountable.” Under AB 1505, many of the problems that have plagued the authorizing process will be improved. The State Board of Education will no longer serve as a chartering authority. Local school boards will be given more discretion to deny charters based on the fiscal impacts on local districts. A charter 2


moratorium will be imposed on new virtual and home-based charters. Gov. Newsom also signed AB 1507, which closes a loophole in the law that allowed charter schools to operate outside their authorizers’ boundaries. School districts have been forced to accommodate charter schools they did not authorize, but were approved by an outside district, limiting resources and splitting student populations. AB 1507 will prevent an authorizer from approving a charter school not within their jurisdiction, but the law will still allow charter schools not approved by a school district to appeal to county boards of education.

Photo by: Steven Lira

School security training bill signed


CSEA-sponsored bill was signed ber of hours they work. Currently, into law that will bolster school school security officials who work safety less than 20 through “One of the main responsibilities of any hours per employee classified employee is making sure that week are training. not required students have a safe environment in SB 390 to complete which to learn and grow.” (Umberg) the same requires all compreschool security employees to receive hensive training that is required of basic training regardless of the num- full-time security employees.

“One of the main responsibilities of any classified employee is making sure that students have a safe environment in which to learn and grow,” said Association President Ben Valdepeña. “We applaud Senator Umberg, the Legislature and Governor Newsom for providing basic school safety training to all security personnel making staff and student safety a priority.” This bill, which will take effect on July 1, 2021, began as a resolution submitted by CSEA’s Newport Mesa Chapter 18 at the 2018 Annual Conference.

Henry Jones wins CalPERS election C

ongratulations to Henry Jones, Retiree Member Representative and President of the CalPERS Board. Jones was re-elected to the CalPERS Board last month after receiving about two-thirds of the vote. CSEA would also like to extend a big thank you to all of the retirees who voted in this election to keep our

pension in good hands. Throughout his time on the CalPERS board, Jones has frequently been active in CSEA events and has been thoughtful in addressing members’ concerns and issues. Jones started out at as a custodian in the Los Angeles Unified School District and climbed the ranks to retire as its Chief Financial Officer in 1998. November/December 2019



CSEA members help in school evacuation effort by Brad Washburn,


s an October wildfire forced the evacuation of students and staff at Mesa View Middle School in Calimesa, CSEA members and other school personnel put their training into action.

“I can’t express from myself and the Executive Board how extremely proud we are of our members, teachers and district staff.” CSEA members and staff spent a stressful afternoon calming parents, directing chaotic traffic and jumpstarting stalled cars out on the streets near the school. Evacuated students were transported to nearby Calimesa Elementary School, where staff organized and put into practice all the drills they do each year. As many as 140 employees in the district have taken Community Emer-

Photos courtesy of Gail Walker and Lucia Hudec



gency Response Team (CERT) training to help prepare for situations just like this. CERT is a FEMA program that trains volunteers to respond safely, responsibly, and effectively to emergency situations. “Our staff know what to do, and with the added benefit of those who took CERT training, we are all so very capable of stepping up and getting the job done,” said Jessica Smith, on behalf of the Yucaipa-Calimesa Chapter 209 Executive Board. With smoke enveloping the area surrounding the middle school, a call to shelter in place was ordered just as school was letting out for the day. That’s when dozens of CSEA members sprang into action. Campus Monitor Amy Arnette drove her truck along the exit road to pick up students walking home and return them to campus—they were actually heading toward the fire zone. Health Tech John Fredrigill distributed air filtration masks to staff working outside in the smoke. Special Ed Instructional Aide Debra Tulley returned to school to make sure evacuation buses were allowed to get through to the middle school. All the while, Lead Campus Monitor Michelle Acosta served as a key orchestrator to

ensure the safe evacuation for students and staff. CSEA members from neighboring Beaumont Unified School District were brought in to help in the evacuation. Since YucaipaCalimesa does not have bus service, Beaumont Chapter 351 bus drivers Laura Wallace, Manuel Medina and Kevin Blair drove students to the elementary school outside the fire zone, where students were reunited with their parents. Classified employees and Laura Wallace other staff made sure the evacuation was calm and organized to help both students and parents feel confident about their safety. Kevin Blair “I teared up more than once and was just so touched by the staff in hearing their accounts of things that happened during their evacuaManuel tion,” Smith said. Medina “I can’t express from myself and the Executive Board how extremely proud we are of our members, teachers and district staff.”

Photos courtesy of Jason Geanakopoulos

Chapter averts double-digit hike in benefits cost by Shannon Carr,


fter two years without a raise and seven long months of negotiations, Anaheim Elementary Chapter 54 recently negotiated a 2 percent salary increase and wiped out a 12 percent increase in Health and Welfare Benefits proposed by the district. Labor Relations Representative Jason Geanakopoulos credits the action to the overwhelming support of its members who packed the district board meetings to stand

together in solidarity. One-hundred fifty members attended a district board meeting earlier this year led by Chapter President Kathy Heard. “We work hard for this district and are proud of the work we do,” Heard said at that meeting. “We help this community to succeed by taking care of its buildings, keeping them clean, supporting our students, taking care of the finances and paperwork that keeps this district solvent. But we

make a third of what administrators and teachers make and struggle to make ends meet. Our children that go to our schools cannot be supported on the wages we are making. We are one paycheck away from financial disaster.” Fifty members sacrificed some of their summer to show up to the July 25 meeting.

“We work hard for this district and are proud of the work we do.” “We wouldn’t have gotten this without them showing up at that first board meeting,” Geanakopoulos said. “This contract campaign was about a few things. One was that we’re not second-class citizens to the teachers, that we independently matter. The other was a recognition of just receiving a humane contract and health and wages welfare offer.”

November/December 2019



Photo courtesy of Kevin Palkki

When a pep talk isn’t really a pep talk by Shannon Carr,


isciplinary actions were removed for more than a dozen members in San Bernardino CCD Chapter 291 this fall, thanks to the hard work of Chief Steward Ginger Sutphin and Labor Relations Representative Myesha Kennedy. “I cannot thank these two individuals enough for the work that they put into these representational meetings,” Chapter President Kevin Palkki said. The process began early August when Sutphin and Kennedy represented a custodial staff member for a meeting his manager called a “pep talk” about his attendance, which

should have been identified as an informal conference per the contract. What started as a pep talk with that member turned into the manager having the same type of talks with all the classified employees in that area.

“I cannot thank these two individuals enough for the work that they put into these representational meetings.” “We were able to put a stop to these pep talks/informal conferences and instead of discipline, these employees received resources,” Palkki said. “All discipline meetings

were turned into collaboration meetings on how to provide adequate support for our night crews that do not have regular support during their working hours.” In addition to the six meetings with the custodial department, Sutphin and Kennedy represented an additional seven individuals in grounds and maintenance and operations at the end of August and received the same result. CSEA was also able to successfully get two members back pay for out-of-class work, one which garnered a more than $8,000 settlement dating back to the employees’ start date of 2014.

Settlement diffuses tension between chapter and district by Shannon Carr,


his time last year, Palmdale Chapter 296 filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge when the school district unilaterally reduced the hours of 22 instructional assistants, resulting in a loss of health benefits. “It was heartbreaking because one of our members was actually due to give birth,” recalled Anna Maria Osborn, Labor Relations 6


Paradise rises from the ashes

by Shannon Carr,


ike a phoenix rising from the ashes, Paradise Classified Chapter 837 ratified their contract on September 13 with a unanimous vote in support of the tentative agreement of a 6.5 percent raise. It was approved by the Board the following Tuesday, September 17. Following the devastating fire last November, Chapter President Heidi Lange said “it was a little hectic” working on negotiations since so many people on the team had taken on extra duties and were overwhelmed with an increase in responsibilities. Four of the nine campuses in the school district were destroyed and two were severely damaged.

Representative. “So she went to the Board pregnant, begging them not to take away her benefits because she was about to give birth.” The employee was one of approximately 100 members who rallied at the Board Meeting. Since then and after many months of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) process, a settlement of $400,000 was reached, $20,000 for each of the remaining classified employees.

Although Paradise High School was one of the schools that was spared, students couldn’t occupy it because of the danger of falling trees and other hazards in the area.

“I feel this contract is a great start to a bright future for the classified employees here at Paradise Unified.” “Once the new officers were in place, we settled on a negotiating team and got started right away with negotiations in May,” Lange said. “Our primary goal was to get our staff their raise to help with all the additional expenses since the fire.” She emphasized that the raise was the highlight of the contract, the largest for the chapter’s classified employees. “I feel this contract is a great start to a bright future for the classified employees here at Paradise Unified,” Lange said. “It’s not perfect, but we’ll get there.”

Because the action unified the unit and many members became actively involved during and following the rally, the chapter received the Circle of Stars Award during CSEA’s 93rd Annual Conference this year. It has also made a longstanding difference for its members. “The impact of this settlement has changed the way the district is working with CSEA,” Osborn said.

Lange shared her pride in representing “such a fantastic group of people.” “I look forward to working together to make PUSD an even better place to work,” she said.

“So she went to the Board pregnant, begging them not to take away her benefits because she was about to give birth.” “We don’t have to file grievances, we don’t have to do PERB charges. We just go to labor management meetings and everything is resolved at the lowest possible level.” November/December 2019



Service above self

CSEA veterans pass down service-oriented mindset to children by Shannon Carr,


he United States is home to nearly attendance of the importance of valuing 18 million veterans, with the highservice above self. Each morning, a new est number (1.54 million) residing in slideshow paid tribute to a different California. Each of these brave men and branch of the military: Air Force, Army, women have a story to tell about their Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. The experience and service to their country. slides featured a photo of each service On Veterans Day, person along with the “Just like the military, America turns its name of their related they all are a family attention to the serCSEA member. vice of these heroes “These tributes are in good and bad, and with parades, certraditions steeped in the stick together.” emonies and memoorganization’s history rials, but this recognition is something during conference as a small token that should continue on a daily basis of appreciation for what those in the throughout the year. military do and have done every day One way that CSEA pays tribute to to afford us with the human rights military families is by recognizing their and protection that this country has service at the union’s Annual Conferto offer,” said Association President ence. Nearly 40 children and relatives Ben Valdepeña. of classified employees who served Jeremy Fisher was one of the milior are still active in the military were tary personnel displayed on the screen featured in a daily slideshow at the 93rd during the Marines tribute that highAnnual Conference. The presentation lighted 10 different individuals. Fisher is helped remind the 1,600 delegates in the son of Jonathan Fisher, second vice Photos courtesy of CSEA members



“It’s pretty interesting to see a group of co-workers come together and support one another for a common goal of the co-worker.” president of Delta Valley Chapter 821 and a painter for 17 years at Stockton Unified School District. In many ways, being a part of the military, known for its brother and sisterhood, is similar to the core values of CSEA.

Jeremy Fisher

“Just like the military, they all are a family in good and bad, and stick together,” Jonathan Fisher said. “No man is left behind and they have your back all the time. Both union and military have produced great leaders and with those leaders and training we are able to bring in more great leaders to be able to accomplish goals for all.” Jeremy Fisher, Sergeant/E-5 with his eight years of active duty service from 2006 to 2014, emphasized that just like CSEA, in the Corps that “brotherhood” has a true meaning. “You form a bond and trust with those around you,” he said. “Race, ethnicity, cultural religion are overlooked when you have uniformity in the service uniform.” He was a part of two tours in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. Jeremy Fisher said that America seemed different during that time. “The wars were a big deal in 2006, and it seemed like (the country) yearned for the details daily of what was going on overseas,” he said. “The people were proud to be American, and knew what the flag meant and stood for.” There was also a high level of respect and recognition for those who served,

Jonathan Fisher

as people would often tip their hats to those in the service. Although Jeremy Fisher has lived far away from his dad for many years, the sense of service runs deep in the family’s blood. He said it has always been interesting to hear stories about the union pushing for raises, or sanctioned events. “It’s pretty interesting to see a group of co-workers come together and support one another for a common goal of the co-worker,” he said. Additional Veterans Day information and resources at:

November/December 2019



Gilbert Bonilla Jr. and Gilbert Bonilla III

Gilbert Bonilla III, who served in the Navy for four years from 2007 to 2011, is also following in his father’s footsteps of working beyond himself. The son of Gilbert Bonilla Jr., president of Long Beach Chapter 2 and a computer support technician with Long Beach Unified School District, Bonilla III was Petty Officer 3rd Class during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. “I knew my father served in the Air Force, and that most likely influenced me a little,” Bonilla III said. “I was always interested in the military and history. I joined because I felt it was the natural thing to do for an able-bodied citizen.”



“Whether it’s in the military or Bonilla Jr. served in the Air Force as coaching a bunch of children trying to an E1 to E4 technical aircraft maintelearn how to play a sport or interactnance specialist for four years of active ing with working professionals, (he has duty and two years of inactive duty a way of) bringing people together to from 1982 to 1986. efficiently achieve a common goal and They both agree that being in the service instilled integral values of honor, it’s never an easy thing to accomplish,” Bonilla III said. respect, discipline, leadership and how Bonilla III, Bonilla Jr. and Jeremy to work with people of different backFisher are just a few people among grounds. the millions who have dedicated their “I received a lot of valuable training that helped me through many aspects of lives to this country, and Veterans Day my life throughout my lifetime,” Bonilla holds a special meaning to them as well, including remembering those friends Jr. said. they have made and lost. Bonilla III has seen the influence “It is a day for it has instilled in his “My father has a keen veterans to celebrate father’s life, in addiinterest in organization the accomplishtion to being a CSEA ments of their own member since 1994. and getting a group of personal service and “My father has a people to work together that of their comkeen interest in orgafor a common goal.” rades, and to celebrate nization and getting a the history of the small percentage of group of people to work together for a American citizens who defended the common goal,” Bonilla III said. “These Constitution of the United States of are fundamentals he may have learned America,” Bonilla III said. “Millions of in his time in the Air Force, and it is a men and women have served in our characteristic of his that I remember military, but it is still a small society. during his time as a baseball coach.” America is safe from foreign invasion While the principles are the same, because men and women have volunthe way to achieve these goals is depenteered to protect us.” dent on the group.

PAYING TRIBUTE TO CSEA MEMBERS WHO SERVED CSEA has many members who served in the military and continue to live by the values of service to others through their work in schools. First, they protected our country and, in their career, they decided to dedicate their lives to improving our public education system. In regard to Veterans Day, President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Veterans Day, originally Armistice Day, honors all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Originally, it was meant to mark the end of World War I, but was expanded in the 1950s to include all veterans. We take this day to remember that freedom is never free, and it took the service and courage of millions of brave men and women in our military to give us the rights we have today.

HOW DID YOUR MILITARY SERVICE HELP YOU AS A CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE? “Of course, you don’t join the military to get rich, you do it because you want to serve. And taking a civil service job, you’re still giving back to the community. I’m a maintenance tech here at Newport-Mesa Unified School District, where I make sure the lights stay on and the projectors are working and the doors open and close properly, so the kids can still go to school and go to class.” Gary Logan, Army Maintenance Technician, Newport-Mesa Chapter 18

“When I enlisted, I had never traveled anywhere out of my local 45-mile radius. After I joined, I was able to meet different people all over the world and different walks of life and races. I think it kind of helped me to not be so judgmental and really understand that we are so different, but we are all connected in some way or another.” Margaret Ortiz, Navy Secretary II, Claremont Chapter 200

“Coming out of high school, I was kind of searching for what I wanted to be in life. I had a goal and it was public service. I made connections with teachers and administrators, which ultimately, they looked back and saw that experience was going to be of value to them and the community and the students that they serve.” Rengeal Uribe, Army and Coast Guard Campus Assistant, Sweetwater Paraprofessional Chapter 731

“In the service, and then with the guys I work with today, we all work good together. It’s been a big help understanding different people because you meet all kinds of different people from different backgrounds.” Robert Kaufmann, Army Groundskeeper, Brentwood Chapter 895

November/December 2019


Union Resurgence Approval of unions highest in 50 years by Brad Washburn,

Photo by Steven Lira

Photo by Slobodan Dimitrov

Photo by Kohjiro Kinno


f you’re a CSEA member, consider yourself fortunate. A recent survey found that nearly half of Americans who do not currently belong to a union would join one if they could. That’s about 58 million workers who wish they could have what you’ve already got—a union like CSEA. The 2018 study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institute for Work and Employment Research showed a dramatic increase in people’s desire to belong to a union. The last two times this question was asked on national surveys in 1977 and 1995, only about one-third of workers wanted to join a union. A separate Gallup poll taken in August found that approval of unions has risen to the highest it’s been in 50 years. The poll also found that 86 percent of U.S. adults living in a household with a union member approve of unions. CSEA numbers are even higher. In CSEArepresented school districts, community colleges and county offices of education, nearly nine out of every 10 classified employees are CSEA members. “I used to work somewhere without a union and our bosses took advantage



of us,” said Melissa Gutierrez, homeless education liaison and member of San Diego COE Chapter 568. “When I joined CSEA, it was eye-opening to see the power of our unity, and how we used it to stand up for each other. How could I not be active and engaged for something that helps us?” CSEA members say “I’m In” to fight for better pay raises, pension security, health insurance, sick leave and other important benefits our families rely on. The union makes us stronger, so we get the respect we deserve and can focus on the parts of our job that really matters. WORKING FOR IMPROVEMENT “I wholeheartedly believe that everyone who works hard should be able to improve their life, and CSEA helps to do that,” said Lily Casas, outreach specialist and member of College of the Desert Chapter 407. “It is important for younger members to get involved because the issues that CSEA fights for are issues that affect everyone, young or seasoned members, full-time or part-time.” Casas joined CSEA seven years ago, and quickly found out the value of union representation. After working



The Union Difference Workers in union-represented jobs have a clear advantage over their non-union counterparts. On average, workplaces with union representation have better insurance, better retirement benefits, paid sick leave and higher pay.


$1,050 $500 0 Union













for three years as an outreach specialist, Foundation are finding that their campaign to push workers into dropshe was promoted. Then, she was told she didn’t pass probation and would be ping their union membership is failing. terminated. CSEA intervened and made These billionaire-backed special-intersure she was able to return to her previest groups want to roll back worker ous position, which she was entitled to protections, civil liberties and the do under the Ed Code. After that, Casas right to collectively bargain for pay and benefits—but workers and union got active in her union. members are standing their ground. A “I became involved to make sure no one else had to endure what I did,” year after Janus, CSEA has increased its representation to more than a she said. quarter million classiPhi Tran, net“In CSEA, we fight fied employees. work system specialfor fairness and In the private ist and member of sector, corporate Ocean View Chapter make a difference” outsourcing, anti-col375, believes that lective bargaining laws and a rising gig getting active in CSEA is important for anyone who cares about workers’ rights. economy have fueled a steady decline “Workers have sacrificed their in union membership over the past jobs, reputations and even their own few decades, but that could change. lives, so that we could have fair wages, Approval of unions is the highest it’s good working conditions, and even been since the 1960s, and it’s especially things that seem as simple as sick high among young workers. The Pew leave and vacation,” said Tran. “Unless Research Center found that nearly we continue to fight for these rights, seven in 10 workers under 30 have a they will disappear.” favorable opinion of unions. “I’ve worked at places without ANTI-UNION GROUPS unions and I’ve seen how bad workers get treated,” said Ana Montanez-Rogers, FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE a bus driver and member of Muroc More than a year after the 2018 Chapter 340. “In CSEA, we can fight Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court for fairness and make a difference.” decision, groups such as the Freedom



November/December 2019



by Brad Washburn,


Photos by Kohjiro Kinno

s a member-run union, CSEA relies on members to step forward and contribute new ideas and new energy. There are many ways to get involved, and the best place to start is attend a chapter meeting. “I wanted to work to get a better contract, so I started to attend meetings,” said intervention paraeducator Margaret Warder of Laguna Beach Chapter 131. “When I learned all the things our union works for, it made me want to do more. There are so many ways CSEA improves our lives.” Warder is now president of her chapter, active in her community and a staunch advocate of women’s and children’s issues. She received a

Help Wanted Find out what kind of help is needed in your chapter. From site rep to the executive board, CSEA is always looking for volunteers who want to make a difference.

Site reps provide a vital communication link between members and chapter leaders. They keep

Photo by Steven Lira


national award in 2016 for her work as a paraeducator. When members get active, CSEA gets stronger. This is evidenced by a recent increase in CSEA activism and leadership in chapters throughout the state. April Llamas is an administrative assistant and member of San Dieguito Chapter 241. She is also regional representative for Region 63, where she reported a surge in new member leaders over the past year. “Stepping up to take on a chapter executive board position is a commendable action, and these new leaders have put their hearts into it,” Llamas said.

bulletin boards updated and answer questions at their work site or refer co-workers to the appropriate chapter officers and union staff for answers.

UNION STEWARD Union stewards protect employees’ rights on the job, enforce the contract and keep management in check. CSEA ensures that its job stewards get as much training as they need through the CSEA Steward Program.



From site rep to chapter president and other leadership positions, CSEA members are getting involved and making a difference. How about you?

Attend a

chapter meeting Chapter meetings are open to all members, and all members are encouraged to attend. To find out when the next meeting is, check bulletin boards, your chapter newsletter, or just ask someone.

CHAPTER OFFICER Each year, members elect their coworkers to serve on the chapter executive board (president, vicepresident(s), secretary, treasurer, etc.). These elections are open to any member in good standing. CSEA provides chapter officers with plenty of training opportunities.

CHAPTER COMMITTEE Many chapters elect and appoint members to various standing and ad hoc committees. These committees handle everything from negotiations to welcoming new members.



It’s never too early to learn about your retirement!


t’s never too early to learn how CalPERS pays you later! Whether you’re retiring this year or 40 years from now, you should attend a FREE CSEA-sponsored Pre-Retirement Seminar in your area, brought to you by the CSEA Pre-Retirement Resource Committee. You’ll get the information you need to maximize your pension benefits. CalPERS will be presenting and will provide informational booklets. Additional information will be provided on Social Security and the CSEA Retiree Unit.

2019–2020­­ Pre-Retirement Seminars All seminars are on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to Noon. Area A

Area F

Dec. 7, 2019 – Woodland Jan. 11, 2020 Orland

Jan. 11, 2020 – Victorville Feb. 22, 2020 – Perris Valley March 21, 2020 – Palm Desert

Area B

Oct. 26, 2019 – Sonoma March 7, 2020 – Ukiah May 9, 2020 – San Rafael Area C Oct. 19, 2019 – San Jose Jan. 25, 2020 – Danville March 21, 2020 – Alameda April 25, 2020 – San Jose

Area D

Oct. 19, 2019 – Lancaster Dec. 14, 2019 – Woodlake

Area E

Oct. 26, 2019 – Patterson Jan. 25, 2020 – Modesto

Area G

Nov. 16, 2019 – Norwalk Feb. 8, 2020 – El Monte

Area H

Jan. 25, 2020 – Buena Park March 7, 2020 – Capistrano

Area I

Jan 25, 2020 – Nipomo Feb. 22, 2020 – Goleta Valley Feb. 29, 2020 – Oxnard

Area K

Oct. 26, 2019 – El Cajon Dec. 14, 2019 – San Diego

You’ll learn about: • CalPERS retirement • Purchasing service credit • The best retirement date for you • CalPERS retirement options • How your retirement is calculated Note: Social Security representatives are unable to attend; however, Social Security materials will be distributed to help you in planning.

For more information and to RSVP, please visit


November/December 2019

PO 15



23 Annual Paraeducator Conference Popular conference returns to Southern California by Sam Felsing,

he 2020 CSEA Paraeducator Conference will take place March 17-19 at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, CA. CSEA One of CSEA’ s most popular events, the Paraeducator Conference broke attendance records last PARAEDUCATOR C O N F E R E N C E year in Sacramento and sold out the last time it was held in Ontario. Issel Martinez, a paraeducator for San Diego Unified School District, serves on the Paraeducator Conference Planning Committee. She attended the Paraeducator Conference in 2016 for the first time and said it provided her with a strong sense of camaraderie. “It was good to see so many paraeducators in one room,” she said. “I felt that the person clear across the hall would know the same troubles that I go through in regards to access to curriculum, behavior tools and things like that.” CSEA’s Paraeducaor Conference 16


presents a rare opportunity for instruc- what they can bring to the event. The paraeducators can take back the skills tional aides, classroom assistants and they learn at the Paraeducator Conferother paraeducators to meet and share their struggles and successes. ence to better help the students they Attendees serve and to pass on choose from knowledge and new a wide range techniques to their “I really want to learn as of specialized co-workers. much as I can because, workshops and “Oh, my goodto me, learning everything I collaborate on ness. It’s so many can to become a better para tools to take back, the best ways will eventually help the to serve the not just for yourself, students I work with.” students they but for those you work with every work with,” said day. Topics and Lynn Villarreal, courses at the conference are varSanta Clara Chapter 350 president and a paraeducator for 25 years with ied and broad, covering everything from managing conflicts in the classroom, trends in autism-based curriculum and bullying prevention techniques. Paraeducators also receive tips on de-stressing, making positive life changes and understanding their retirement benefits. Organizers continue building on the experience, learning from evaluations, and figuring out Photos by Kevin Graft


NEW classes & the Santa Clara Unified School District. Villarreal says she talks up the paraeducator event whenever she gets a chance and has even had presenters from the conference come to her school district to teach her peers. Though a bargaining session will prevent her from attending this year’s conference, she will be sending co-workers from her chapter. Nathanael Nash, a paraeducator with seven years of experience currently working in adult transition at Perris Valley Union High School District, says he likes to see what’s new and different. Nash says his desire to try new things is partly what’s leading him to attend the Paraeducator Conference for the first time this year. “I really want to learn as much as I can because, to me, learning every-

workshops at this year’s Paraeducator Conference

thing I can to become a better para will eventually help the students I work with. And that’s what I am there for–I am there for the kids. If learning new things is going to help me be there and do better for the kids, then that’s what I am going to do,” he said. Though he wants to learn, Nash is also excited to meet his many peers. Most paraeducators agree that meeting others in the profession is what truly makes the conference special. “It’s worth going because you learn a lot and you get to meet new people,” said Kailey McDonald, a middle school paraeducator from Burbank Unified School District. “You get to talk with others from other areas that may have the same challenges, and you can come together towards solving that issue.” The registration cost for CSEA members is $109. The conference is open to all CSEA members. There are several funding sources school districts may use to cover the costs. The pre-registration deadline is February 1. If you miss this deadline, the fee will be $149 per person and you must register on-site (space will be subject to availability).

• Autism and Evidence-Based Classroom Practices • Exercise to Reduce Challenging Behaviors • RISE • Social Media and its Impact on Students • The ABC’s of Behavior­— The student did WHAT?!!! • Trans 101 • Trauma Informed Classroom Practices • Understanding Emotions and the “Rage Cycle”

Register now For more information and registration materials, go to


How to Get CSEA Discounts and Benefits: Call us: (866) ITS-CSEA (487-2732) A user account is required to access CSEA Member Benefits. Create a user account in three easy steps at IN PERSON DISCOUNT TICKET SALES Member Benefits Service Centers:

Member-Focused, Member-Driven Like CSEA, California’s Valued Trust (CVT) is member-focused and member-driven. We were founded in 1984 with the help of CSEA and have enjoyed a unique relationship ever since. CSEA representatives sit on our Board. CVT’s mission is to provide our members with the best and most affordable healthcare benefits possible. Like CSEA, we do all we can to make sure members have the most options and choices available to them.

CSEA Headquarters 2045 Lundy Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131

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CSEA Fresno Field Office 2501 W. Shaw Avenue, #107, Fresno, CA 93711 Open Monday through Friday – 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (Note: Cash is not an accepted form of payment.)

For more information, visit or call 800-288-9870.

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All loans are subject to approval.



Letter of Intent

Election notice for Area Offices The CSEA Board of Directors consists of five association officers and 10 area directors, each of whom is democratically elected by CSEA members to serve a two-year term. This year, elections will be held for area directors representing areas B, D, F, H, and K, and alternate area directors representing areas A, C, E, G, and I. All board members are volunteers who work regular classified jobs. Board meetings are held monthly (except August) and are open to all CSEA members. To qualify for the above offices, candidates must have been members in good standing of a chapter within the respective area since January 2, 2019. Please use the Letter of Intent form to the right and on the next page, which has more detailed instructions. The Letter of Intent can also be found at



To ensure the arrival of this letter, send it by CERTIFIED mail, return receipt requested. The letter, with original signature (no copies), must be submitted to the Association Secretary, addressed as printed below, and must be in her hands or POSTMARKED not later than midnight, January 2, 2020. Failure to provide all requested information or mailing to any address other than printed hereon may result in disqualification.

Ms. Monica Han Association Secretary, CSEA 2045 Lundy Avenue San Jose, CA 95131 Dear Madame Secretary:

In accordance with the provisions of Article IV of the Constitution of the California School Employees Association, I hereby declare my intention of seeking election to the office of: (check the appropriate box, and indicate your Area)

o Area Director, Area ___________ (B, D, F, H, K) o Alternate Area Director, Area ____________

(A, C, E, G, I)

I hereby certify the following required information is true and correct:

Get Something – Give Something

1. _________________________________________________________________ (First Name) (Last Name)


2. Home Address: __________________________________________________

our purchases at Amazon can help support the CSEA Assistance Fund at no extra cost to you. Just select CSEA Assistance Fund using Amazon Smile.

(Street or P.O. Box)


(Zip Code)

3. Member ID # ____________________ Home Phone (____)______________ OR Social Security # _______________ Work Phone (____)______________ 4. I am a member in good standing of: _________________________________

(CSEA Chapter Name and Number)

5. Employed by: ____________________________________________________

To select Amazon Smile for CSEA:

• Go to • Log in if you have an Amazon account • • •

or create an account Search for CSEA Assistance Fund Select CSEA Assistance Fund, location San Jose Start shopping – It’s that easy!

(School/Community College District; COE; County/City Employer; Other)

6. List any periods (months) of UNPAID status with your employer since January 2, 2019, with explanation. (Note: You need not include summer break if your regular employment is for 10 or 11 months only.) ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________    o No periods of unpaid status since January 2, 2019. 7. ________________________________________________________________ (Candidate’s Signature) (Date) (Please Complete Reverse Side)

Learn more at November/December 2019



Letter of Intent (continued) CANDIDATE BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION Area Director & Alternate Area Director Candidates Note: Providing this information is entirely optional on your part and is not necessary to certify you as a qualified candidate. Biographical information that is provided by candidates, however, will be forwarded to chapter presidents within your Area – along with the official ballots if the office is contested – so that chapter members can be informed of each candidate’s qualifications. Should you choose not to submit any biographical data, the published materials sent to chapters will contain only your name, your chapter and region, and a statement indicating: “biographical information not provided.” It is, therefore, in your best interest to submit the information. STATEMENTS LONGER THAN 150 WORDS WILL NOT BE PRINTED. A. Provide a brief statement, not more than 150 words in length, relating why you are seeking the office and/or what personal qualifications/abilities you will bring to the position. Please do not exceed the 150 word limit.

B. Chapter Positions Held, & No. of Years in Each Position

Regional Positions Held, & No. of Years in Each Position

Association-level Positions Held, & No. of Years in Each Position

Association Officer and Alternate Area Director candidate expenditure reports and election results In accordance with Association Policy 203.7, the following campaign statements have been received from candidates for the 2019 Association Officer elections and contested Alternate Area H Director special election. The postmark deadline for receipt of the statements was August 31, 2019 and August 12, 2019, respectively. CANDIDATES FOR:

Expenditure Amount







ASSOCIATION SECRETARY Tami Castelluccio Monica Han* Kerry Woods

$986.78 $969.95 $379.44

ALTERNATE AREA H DIRECTOR Eliana Padilla* $0.00 Report not postmarked by Deadline Kerry Woods ALL CANDIDATES are encouraged to produce other campaign literature for distribution in whatever manner you deem appropriate – through Regional Representatives for distribution at RPMs, or directly to Chapter Presidents. You may also attend RPMs and/or chapter meetings in person to promote your candidacy. You will need to contact the RR or Chapter President to request time on their agenda and for appropriate dates and locations. All candidates are also eligible to submit campaign advertisements for CSEA’s official publication. Contact the Editor for submission deadlines and other criteria.




*Duly elected Per Policy 203.7.05, candidates who did not submit an itemized accounting of all campaign expenditures to the Board of Directors (including receipts and/or invoices) by the required deadline shall be ineligible to be a candidate for Association office, Area Director and/or Alternate Area Director for a two-year period following the deadline of his/her campaign expenditures report.

Union Plus Scholarship A pply now for the Union Plus Scholarship Program. It’s one of the advantages of your CSEA membership. Members, spouses and their dependents going to school are eligible. Last year, nine CSEA families received Union Plus Scholarships ranging from $500 to $4,000. Recipients are chosen based on: • Academic achievement • Potential • Character • Leadership

The deadline to apply is January 31, 2020. Learn more at:

• Social awareness • Career goals • Financial need


November/December 2019


California School Employees Association AFL-CIO

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2045 Lundy Avenue San Jose, CA 95131

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Shop for family and friends this Holiday Season with CSEA

As a CSEA member, you are eligible for discounts on Teleflora, Farm Fresh To You, See’s Candies, Honey Baked Ham, KOA Value Kards, movie tickets and more!

To purchase these items, visit or call (866) ITS-CSEA (487-2732)

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November/December 2019

Focus Magazine  

November/December 2019

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