These California teachers want to oust union at their public charter school

Stop Sign on School Bus
Photo: Megan Lee/Unsplash

Teachers at a San Diego area public charter school have again petitioned to hold a vote in order to remove a teachers union from their school after facing years of hurdles.

Educators at Gompers Preparatory Academy are trying to remove the San Diego Education Association for the second time in three years through a majority vote to decertify the union after a previous attempt was blocked by the union.

Gompers computer teacher Sean Bentz submitted a petition to the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) earlier this month to hold a decertification vote. His petition contained the signatures of more than half of the teachers at Gompers. 

Bentz filed the petition during the short window in which the teachers could ask to hold a vote to decertify a union in their workplace. It is expected that the teachers union will file charges to block the vote.

Gompers did not have a union from 2005 until 2019, when SDEA officials successfully unionized at the school using a card check. Shortly after, Gompers teachers filed a decertification petition, but union officials filed charges against the employer. 

The California PERB never investigated the charges against Gompers to see if the charges had merit, according to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is offering free legal aid to the teachers. 

The NRTW Foundation said in a news release that SDEA union agents targeted the teacher that led the decertification petition in 2019 on social media. Intimidation and retaliation from union officials is prohibited by state law, according to the release.  

“It’s outrageous that, for almost two years, SDEA union bosses were able to delay Gompers’ educators last attempt to vote the union out of the school with unproven allegations of employer misconduct, which PERB regulations never even required the agency to review,” Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, told Chalkboard Review in an email.

“Such anti-worker regulations not only ruin the voluntarism that should be the basis for forming or decertifying a union (something Gompers Preparatory Academy’s namesake, AFL-CIO founder Samuel Gompers, actively advocated for),” Mix said. “They’re also unconscionable as they violate the rights of San Diego teachers who educate some of the city’s most underserved children.”

Even California lawmakers waded into the battle to keep the union in the school. According to the NRTW Foundation’s release, then-Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez “attacked” the foundation in a letter to management for providing free legal aid to teachers.

Brendan Clarey
Brendan Clarey is K-12 editor at Chalkboard Review. Reach him at

Don't Miss Out!

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest education news and commentary everyone ought to know about.