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LOCAL News :: Labor & Economics

Parent Leaders Support Head Start Workers' Vote to Strike Over Non-Economic Issues

The Santa Cruz County Community Counseling Center (SCCCC), the parent corporation for the Head Start Program, publicly expressed disbelief that workers would be willing to strike over non-economic issues. Parent Leader Paola Rojas says she understands easily.

According to Rojas, elected parent leaders who make up the Parent Policy Council have submitted no fewer than three petitions to the agency in the past twelve-months. Federal mandates require that parents have a say in how the program is run along with the agency’s Board of Trustees. “But SCCCC has done everything it can to stop us? says Rojas. Not only have petitions been ignored but Administrators have attempted to intimidate us and walked out of meetings when confronted.

Workers, too, say the agency is not listening. Last week, they voted to give their negotiators strike authorization. The message to SCCCC is that time is running out. For workers, the long negotiation process has deepened divisions with the agency. Workers voted for a union because of heavy-handed agency actions; the difficult negotiations have only strengthened the workers’ resolve. Agency non-responsiveness to workers and parent leaders has convinced workers that they must hold out for binding arbitration to assure fairness when grievances arise.
Press Release 09.26.C.doc (43 k)
Parents and workers have found they have issues in common, including short staffing, safety, supplies and use of resources. Workers and parents agree that the agency has to respond to their concerns. They also feel that dignity and respect have larger meaning in the Head Start program, where parents are recognized as their children’s first teachers, and where workers and families are predominantly Spanish-speaking, while the agency heads are not.

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Re: Parent Leaders Support Head Start Workers' Vote to Strike Over Non-Economic Issues

I got this in an email forwarded from the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (MBCLC):

Community Support Rally &
Board of Trustees Meeting

Tell The Board To Approve A Fair Contract

195A Harvey West Boulevard, Santa Cruz
Monday, October 3, 2005
5:00 - 6:30 PM

Go past main entrance of COSTCO on Harvey West in
Santa Cruz to stop sign, turn left into driveway

For more information, contact SEIU 415.
Ph: 831-724-9415 Fax: 831-724-9095
11-H Alexander Street, Watsonville, CA 95076

more from the press release

Key union negotiation team member and worker activist Luz Barron says that a healing process needs to begin but first workers and parents need protection. “Its about dignity and respect.?

SEIU Local 415 Executive Director Cliff Tillman says that the Bush Administration has done everything it can to weaken or destroy Head Start. “The Local Head Start Agency’s arrogant and hypocritical actions only play into the Administration’s hands.?

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program founded in 1965 as part of President Johnson’s “War On Poverty? and Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision for civil rights. Federal regulations require that the program take a democratic approach to education with elected parents in leadership roles planning, making policy and “sharing decisions,? participating directly in their children’s pre-school education.


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