By: Seth Bramble, California Staff Organization
Working people coming together makes things better for everyone.
In California, National Staff Organization members are acting through their union to ensure their employer implements a supportive work environment.
When the California Teachers Association (CTA) denied a union member the opportunity to pick up their young child from school – even when the employer was informed that the student was only comfortable getting picked up by the parent – the California Associate Staff (CAS) intervened.
Family-friendly policies at work help employees maintain a successful work-life balance and ensure our members have options to take care of family needs.
CAS represents associate staff employed by the C T A, most of whom are 9-to-5 employees. The parent requesting accommodation had a youngster who needed to be picked up from school at 11 am, but CTA management refused the member an option to flex their lunch schedule to perform pickup duties.
CAS filed a grievance citing violations of the contract and policies of the C T A. Management denied the grievance and suggested the CAS member use sick leave or personal necessity leave.
At this point, CAS President Lance Chih met with a National Education Association director who served on CTA’s Early Childhood Education Committee and activated her to lobby on the CAS member’s behalf.
“She was shocked to hear about how a CAS member was being treated,” he said. “She was shocked that CTA would say the belief statements of the organization do not apply to staff.”
This led to a chain of events wherein an officer of the employer (who was a new mom) spoke with the executive director. The policy limiting an 11 am lunch was flexed, and CAS agreed to withdraw the grievance.
In this instance and across the nation, employment policies that cause unjust harm are confronted by organized labor.
The advocacy of the organization means that a CAS member is now allowed to take their lunch at 11am to pick up their child at school. The work of our NSO-affiliated union in California helped reduce parenting stress and promote well-being among parents, which leads to a better work environment, happier families, and healthier children.
Speaking with a collective voice, you can accomplish more than you can on your own.