By Ann Marie Shambaugh
Carmel Clay Schools teachers overwhelmingly selected the Carmel Teacher’s Association to replace the Carmel Clay Education Association as its union.
CTA received 599 votes, with CCEA receiving 119 and two teachers voting for no representation. Voting took place by mail between May 11 and 25. The Indiana Education Employment Relations Board counted the ballots May 26.
“We are humbled by the vote totals. We promise to work hard to live up to the trust placed in us by the teachers of Carmel Clay Schools,” said Pete O’Hara, CTA president and a teacher at Carmel High School.
CCEA President Brian Lyday, a teacher at Towne Meadow Elementary, did not respond to a request for comment, but CCEA congratulated CTA on its Facebook page following the ruling.
“Over the past 45 years, it has truly been a privilege and honor to represent Carmel teachers who routinely perform among the best in the state and challenge themselves to develop professionally for the betterment of their students,” the post stated. “Moving forward, effort will be put into making the transition as smooth as possible, and our leadership has offered to assist if needed.”
CCEA membership lasts until the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Its dues were more than $750, with all but $52 going to Indiana State Teachers Association and the National Educators Association. CTA dues are expected to be approximately $100, and members may join ISTA and NEA individually.
CTA formed partially in response to CCEA being unable to reach a contract agreement with the district in three out of four years, more than any other district in the state. Each time, the state-appointed factfinder ruled against CCEA, which resulted in teachers making less money than they could have if the two sides had reached an agreement earlier.
Carmel teachers did not have a contract for the 2016-2017 school year. IEERB ruled in August 2016 that bargaining couldn’t begin until teachers voted on whether or not to decertify CCEA as its union, but the election was delayed after CCEA filed an unfair labor complaint against CCS that same month. IEERB cleared CCS of any wrongdoing in a ruling issued in March.
Now that CTA is the official union, the stay of bargaining for the 2016-2017 contract year has been lifted. Any increases in pay would be effectively retroactively.
CTA supporter Christy Herris, a teacher at West Clay Elementary who was a CCEA member for four years, is glad a vote finally took place.
“Teaching is the trenches of life. We see it all. We are on the front lines of growing up. Teachers need representation and protection, because teaching is a risky business,” she stated in an email. “So, as the months have passed, I’ve been hoping for this election, because this election is for all CCS teachers. It’s democracy in action. It’s an affirmation that every teacher matters, every teacher’s perspective is valued and – at the end of the day – an election means that the consensus and dignity of all 800-plus of us was respected.”