LABOR DAY * 2023 !


​LABOR DAY Holiday * 2023

​Do you know the history ?




​CUSD Employees, Colleagues, and Families,

​CAUSE Leadership hopes this email finds you well on such a great celebratory day.  ​Do you know the history of Labor Day? Did you know you can thank unionized workers for this day-off? If not, here’s a crash course….

The True History of Labor Day


The History of Labor Day | Drive Thru History​:

​Some BENEFITS to being unionized:

Working in a unionized school district (CUSD), we thought you’d want to know ​some of the benefits of being part of a union.


  • On average, union workers are paid over 11% more than their non-union counterparts.
  • We are 41% more likely to have employer-sponsored retirement plans.
  • ​Nationally, among workers covered by a union contract, 94% have access to employer-sponsored health benefits, compared to just 68% of non-union workers.​
  • Locally, CAUSE Leadership recently fought for, negotiated, and secured significant HEALTHCARE improvements for District personal; including maintaining fully funded plans while including new plans for part-time workers.

At the State level…

Your Union, the CFT & CAUSE, have been focused on these ​4 ( of 13 ) bills that could transform K-12 Public Education in California!

  • AB 938 – The 50% Educator Pay bill;
  • AB 811 – the Student Repeatability Bill;
  • AB 1699 – First Right of Refusal for Classified Bill; and
  • SB 394 – The Green Schools Master Plan.

Th​ese bills have been a huge achievement​, they’ll require a few more steps to make these laws realities, including convincing the Governor.


​We hope you’ll take a moment to remind those around you of the importance of labor unions in the continued struggle to protect safe, healthy, and reasonable working conditions, while we also fight to secure fair compensation and high-quality educational opportunities for the students & families we serve.

​In Unity,

~ j. Hotchner * CAUSE President


* C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *

Union’s SAFETY Proposal – Submitted July 13, 2023


The Union’s most recent SAFETY PROPOSAL
[ See our proposal submitted on July 13, 2023 ]

District Colleagues, Employees, and District Families.
Although the District has, thus far, rejected each and every proposed SAFETY improvement offered by the union, it is not to late to bring these improvements to the lives of our colleagues, students, and their families.  
Please take a moment to review our proposed SAFETY improvements [Follow the link above] , and consider how you can promote these improvements to District Leadership.
~  j. Hotchner * CAUSE President


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *

ATTENTION: District Employees (HEALTHCARE Selection “Deadlines”)

ATTENTION: District Employees
CUSD’s New HEALTHCARE Selection “Deadlines”
District Colleagues & Employees,
This year, many District employees will have increased access to fully-funded or partially-funded HEALTHCARE options that did not exist in the past!
Union Leadership encourages ALL District personnel to examine available HEALTHCARE plans (See negotiated agreement attached.) and designate their HEALTHCARE preferences before the District’s August 18th HEALTHCARE selection “deadline” has passed. 
Although the CUSD may not refuse employees their earned HEALTHCARE benefits, it appears that the process will be considerably (and perhaps unnecessarily) complicated after the August 18, 2023 “deadline” announced by the District.  Employees are strongly encouraged to complete their HEALTHCARE plan selection before further confusion or delays are built into the process.
In the last collective bargaining cycle, the Union and District negotiated several improvements associated with the HEALTHCARE offerings available to CUSD employees; including but not limited to…
* a wider variety of HEALTHCARE plan designs
* increased employee access to improved HEALTHCARE plans
* improved funding models for available HEALTHCARE plans
* and significant changes to HEALTHCARE plan options
With the recent arbitrary administrative changes to the DISTRICT OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD and “administrative support”, there is concern that CUSD is limiting access to employee HEALTHCARE by imposing arbitrary deadlines on HEALTHCARE plan selection.
 In an announcement sent in late July, the District stated, No changes will be allowed after Friday August 18, 2023, or during the plan year, unless you experience a qualifying event as defined by the IRS.

Last year (22-23), the policy was…

Recognizing a significant difference between this and last year’s expectations, and concerned that the District’s arbitrary new deadline would not permit employees adequate time to examine and select plans before the new deadline had passed, the Union sent an information request.
Upon our inquiry, the District clarified upon the misleading nature of its original statement; confirming that “This year, if an employee needs to make a change or an enrollment after August 18, they will need to contact [sic. The District] directly and [sic. CUSD] will individually open up the enrollment option for them in the Ease platform.”
Although Union Leadership is pleased that CUSD has more clearly acknowledged employees’ opportunity to resolve HEALTHCARE plan selection after August 18th, 2023, we recognize that the CUSD has not advertised this condition widely.  Therefore, Union Leadership shares it with our District colleagues in hopes that you may avoid future confusion and delay associated with your increased access to employee HEALTHCARE.
In Unity,
~ j. Hotchner * CAUSE President


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *


CUSD Rejects SAFETY Improvements; to be continued…




Bargaining Update: July 13, 2023


CUSD Rejects Every Proposed SAFETY Improvement




District Employees, Families, and Interested Community,

On June 5, 2023, CAUSE submitted its initial proposal on ARTICLE 15: SAFETY.   ( A. CERTIFICATED CAUSE (1st Proposal ) ARTICLE 15 SAFETY 2023-24 )

In hopes of making improvements to District SAFETY before the 23-24 school year begins, the Union joined the District (today) to further negotiate ARTICLE 15: SAFETY.    Upon arrival, the District submitted its first counter proposal on ARTICLE 15: SAFETY (  B. CUSD Counter Proposal 1st July 15. 2023 Article 15 Safety CAUSE Certificated 2023-24)  In its counter proposal, the District rejected every proposed SAFETY improvement contained in the Union’s initial proposal.

Unfortunately, it appears that tangible SAFETY improvements will not be put in place by the start of CUSD’s 23-24 school year.  But our effort to pursue these improvements though the bargaining process is far from over.   Still laser focused on ensuring the well-being  of CUSD’s students, employees, and families, the Union responded by submitting its first counter proposal on ARTICLE 15: SAFETY. ( C. CERTIFICATED CAUSE (1st Counter Proposal ) ARTICLE 15 SAFETY 2023-24 )

Towards Progress,

~ CAUSE Leadership


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *


Union’s Effort to Make SAFETY Improvements [Before 23-24 Begins] Remains Unanswered by CUSD



2023-24 CERTIFICATED Contract Bargaining Cycle

Update * As of June 14, 2023



CUSD Employees, Families, and Interested Community Members,

At the most recent School Board meeting, held on Tuesday, June 13th, the Union shared the following:

(A) During the 22-23 bargaining cycle, District leadership rejected each and every SAFETY improvement proposed by the Union, many of which were designed to standardize our safety practices across the District, improve training outcomes, and directly benefit the well-being of our students and their families.


(B) The Union opened the 23-24 bargaining cycle with a singular focus, making SAFETY improvements before the 23-24 school year has begun.  [Thus far, only the Union has submitted a proposal in the current 23-24 bargaining cycle:  CERTIFICATED CAUSE (1st Proposal ) ARTICLE 14 SAFETY 2023-24.]

(C) Unfortunately, the District has not accepted our offer to bargain over the summer on this topic, or even provide a counter proposal before we return for the next school year.


​These statements were immediately met with surprise by members of the CUSD School Board.  It appeared the District’s bargaining team had not shared (w/ the School Board) that the Union is willing to bargain much needed SAFETY improvements over the Summer.

This can be viewed in the Board Meeting video, linked just below, at approximately MINUTE 2:22:55 ​…


… where Board President Jaime Diamond ​distracted in her phone, explains ​the pause, stating that she “Sorry, I’m just checking… because I believe I recall getting an email saying that… the District is willing to meet in the Summer months… so… ummmm… yup… so… I’m just…  so… Okay!   Any further public comments for items not on the agenda?  Okay.  I’m going to pause us for a 5 minute break”      Upon the Board’s return, Ms. Diamond did not produce or cite any email that contradicted the Union’s public comment.

Perhaps Board President Jaime Diamond was thinking about the ​​​Union’s e​mail invitation on June 5th ( Gmail – CAUSE invitation – Summer Bargaining. 2023-24 CERTIFICATED BARGAINING CYCLE ), when CAUSE offered to negotiate SAFETY improvements over the summer? (also attached).

Or perhaps Ms. Diamond was thinking about the CAUSE ADVISORY, also sent on June 5th ( Gmail – CAUSE ADVISORY 2023-24 CERTIFICATED Bargaining Cycle Begins Opening Session # 1 ), that reiterated the Union’s willingness to join the District, “if the District ha​d​ any interest in making significant improvements to the SAFETY ARTICLE prior to the start of the 2023-24 school year” ? (also attached)

This for certain, no Board Member could have recalling a response from the District that expressed any interest in negotiating SAFETY improvements during the Summe​r, o​r that CUSD submitted a District counter-proposal on SAFETY, because the District ​did not.

The District had offered two (2) responses that pertained to the District’s availability to continue bargaining in the Autumn, 2023. (both are also attached)   In the first email response, CUSD’s Human Resource Director, Diana Zapata, offered a set of dates in Autumn, 2023. ( Gmail * CUSD’s 1st Response:Availability – Re 2023-24 CERTIFICATED BARGAINING CYCLE )

In the District’s second response, also sent by Ms. Zapata, the District retracted the dates in the first response and suggested alternative dates.  ( Gmail * CUSD’s 2nd Response:Availability – Re 2023-24 CERTIFICATED BARGAINING CYCLE )

[Note: The District neither accepted any of the dates offered (by CAUSE) at the end of the 22-23 school year, nor did CUSD offer any dates or a ​counter-​proposal that suggested an interest to bargain SAFETY improvements before the 23-24 school year begins.]


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *



CUSD/ CAUSE * 22-23 Negotiated Healthcare Agreements

Further Clarification



District Employees, Families, & District Stakeholders,


Union Leadership understands the confusion, which appears an intentional outcome of the District’s most recent email. pertaining to our recent healthcare negotiations.  Therefore, Union leadership is compelled to clarify:


  • The District’s email represents its most recent attempt to undermine employees’ historic right to participate as fully fledged bargaining partners.


  • This year, for the first time, the District alleged that CAUSE (i.e. the Union with the sole authority to represent District employees) was not permitted to negotiate changes to CUSD’s healthcare plan options; even though the bargaining partners had already negotiated specific healthcare plan options throughout the CERTIFICATED & CLASSIFIED bargaining cycles. (As demonstrated by significant changes to the plan options available in 2023-24.)


  • The CUSD’s email is an act of “bad-faith bargaining.”It demonstrates CUSD’s attempt to better position itself in future bargaining cycles; where it may circumvent its obligation to provide CUSD employees high-quality HEALTHCARE options, by unilaterally and arbitrarily selecting inferior and/or eroded healthcare plans.


  • Fortunately, the District’s attempts to position in this way, does not change the CUSD’s contractual obligations; either this year or in the future.


  • The District is still required to bring proposed healthcare plan options to the bargaining-table during the CERTIFICATED & CLASSIFIED cycles.


  • The District is still required to meet with Union Leadership in a joint healthcare committee to review all benefit areas and plans. (As demonstrated by the CUSD HEALTHCARE BENEFITS COMMITTEE meeting held on May 17, 2023).


Therefore, the Human Resource Director’s email may be ignored.  Union leadership refused and still refuses to take the bait, encouraged by the District’s lawyer and Human Resource Director.   To have held up our agreements to argue this point in a legal setting would have taken away from employee benefits, salary increases, and student programs.  Arguing the District’s unfounded claims would have instead directed those very same public dollars into the pockets of the District’s legal counsel, while ensuring that the Human Resource Director is central to yet another very expensive legal action.


In short, rather than sinking our CLASSIFIED bargaining agreements in the current, to argue the District’s bad-faith posture in court, Union leadership worked to reach negotiated changes to healthcare plan design and options (202223 Negotiated HEALTHCARE Changes.CUSD:CAUSE).  We chose, instead, to deliver important improvements for District employees, students, and their families.

In Service,

~ CAUSE Leadership


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *






District SAFETY Meeting

2nd Meeting – 2022-23 School Year

(District Data Included)


District Employees, Families, and Interested Community Members,

In absence of a video recording, audio recording, or comprehensive minutes provided by CUSD, Union Leadership shares its meeting notes from the 2nd CUSD Safety Meeting of the 2022-23 instructional year.

The Union has also attached :

* the Meeting AGENDA  (not provided until the meeting began)

CUSD * SAFETY Meeting * May 10. 2023. CAUSE : Union Notes

* the CUSD’s – HOUR-ZERO Readiness Reports – 2022-23 (w/ annotations provided by Union Leadership)


Cummutlative HOUR-ZERO Readiness compiled May 10, 2023 (dragged) 2


Cummutlative HOUR-ZERO Readiness compiled May 10, 2023 (dragged) 3


Cummutlative HOUR-ZERO Readiness compiled May 10, 2023 (dragged) 4


Cummutlative HOUR-ZERO Readiness compiled May 10, 2023 (dragged) 5


Cummutlative HOUR-ZERO Readiness compiled May 10, 2023 (dragged) 6


Cummutlative HOUR-ZERO Readiness compiled May 10, 2023 (dragged) 7


Cummutlative HOUR-ZERO Readiness compiled May 10, 2023 (dragged) 8

[ These reports confirm the status of  HOUR-ZERO training completion rates across the District; as of the May 10th meeting.]

Our intention is to better inform District employees and stakeholders of more precise details associated with the District’s SAFETY posture and philosophies.

In Transparency,

~ j. Hotchner * CAUSE President


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *



 D.O. & CANALINO Elementary Intruder Event

Exposes SAFETY Concerns

Is it time to return to previously effective SAFETY practices?


Dear CUSD Community,

In light of recent events involving intruders on CUSD District Office and CANALINO ELEMENTARY School Sites (April 13, 2023), Union Leadership is compelled to ask the question: Is it time to return to previously effective SAFETY practices?

Union Leadership and District parents, working together, wish to remind District Leadership of past practices that once served to reinforce the CUSD’s overall SAFETY posture.   These initiatives were informed by and implemented by robust SCHOOL-SITE SAFETY COMMITTEES across the District, which all coordinated with a thoroughly engaged CUSD SAFETY COMMITTEE working with external agency partners, including representatives from:

* City and State Law Enforcement

*  Local Fire & Rescue

* the City of Carpinteria

* SB County “Ready – Set – Prepare”


* HOPE.Net, & related Mental Health organizations

Currently, if these SCHOOL-SITE & DISTRICT SAFETY COMMITTEES still exist, they are entirely unrecognizable.  Under Superintendent Rigby’s guidance, these committees, their impact on SAFETY, and their transparency have been greatly reduced.   Union Leadership takes no pleasure in sharing that the result of these reductions has left the District’s and School-Site’s SAFETY responses comparably jeopardized; as seen when examining recent responses to SAFETY matters across the District.

Therefore, Union Leadership will share and remind District leadership and the CUSD Community of several value added and comparatively inexpensive SAFETY initiatives, which existed upon the arrival of the Superintendent just a few years ago:

1.) Standardized School-Site / Facility Visitor Registration Processes

2.) District-Wide Security Badging: for District Personnel, Routine Visitors (i.e. Substitute Teachers, Parent Helpers, Mentors, Contractors, etc.) & Guest Visitors

3.) Single Access Points @ School-Site / Facility: during Instructional & After School Program Hours

* Including maps and charts of ALL ACCESS points, confirming their expected status throughout each School-Site’s/Facility’s daily schedules (i.e Regular Day, Early Release Day, Minimum Day, et.) [previously excluding CHS]

4.) District-Wide CPR & First Aid Training: w/ annual Certification offered to all interested District employee and parent

    * The Union  would be open to contractualized expectations related to CPR/First Aid Training

5.) Monthly Inventory of School-Site EMERGENCY Communication Systems:  

*  Office/Classroom Phones, emergency call buttons (GEN 7), Bell tones, fire alarms, etc.

* consider purchase of system/s such as CRISIS-GO

7.) SCHOOL-SITE/FACILITY SAFETY COMMITTEES: Return to robust and inclusive posture

     * to include parents, site-administrators, counselors, student representative/s, site faculty & support staff, school-site union representatives,

* meeting at least monthly; sharing and receiving information (in the form of formal minutes, recommendations, concerns, etc.) directly w/ the CUSD SAFETY COMMITTEE

* w/ stipends paid to faculty & support staff serving in committee positions

8.) DISTRICT SAFETY COMMITTEE:  Return to robust and inclusive posture

* to include CUSD Superintendent, CUSD HR Director, School Site-Principal, CUSD Department Directors / Supervisors , elected Union representatives, HS student representative, Mental Health specialist, External Agency Partners (ex. Law, Fire & Rescue, Carpinteria Planning, SB County Ready, Set, Prepare, etc.), & Parent Leaders/PTA Presidents

* meeting at least monthly; sharing & receiving information (in the form of formal minutes, recommendations, concerns, etc.) directly w/ the SCHOOL SITE SAFETY COMMITTEES & the CUSD SCHOOL BOARD

* w/ stipends paid to faculty & support staff serving in committee positions

9.)  HOUR-ZERO Training and Protocols: Re-invigoration of training & implementation protocols

10.) EMERGENCY / MEDICAL SHEDS (per School-Site): Stocked with routine medical supplies in the event of emergency

11.) MONTHLY STATUS CHECKS EMERGENCY Supplies: Emergency buckets, fire extinguishers, evacuation / first aid bags, walkie-talkies, etc.

Working with parents and the School Board, we are confident these initiatives could be re-implemented to greater effect, to ensure the SAFETY of our students, colleagues, employees, and CUSD families.   Those interested in advocating and working towards these improvements may contact Union Leadership Directly at:

Our Leadership team looks forward to working with all interested parents, employees, community members &/or partners committed to improving the SAFETY conditions for our students and staff.

Towards improvement!

~ j. Hotchner * CAUSE President



C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *




Session # 2: April 19, 2023

[ Focusing on Article 14: SAFETY ]



Today’s Session # 2:

The bargaining partners, CAUSE & CUSD, met today to negotiate over the CLASSIFIED COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT CAUSE-CUSD CLASSIFIED AGREEMENT 2018-19 ].

According to the laws that govern the collective bargaining process, the Union is entitled to information that directly pertains to employee contracts.  Since the District arrived without important fiscal information previously requested by the Union in February, 2023, CAUSE’s team acknowledged that it could not provide the District with a well informed proposal on Article 6, COMPENSATION & BENEFITS.  Therefore, we instead resubmitted our previous information requests, while seeking further clarification upon the District’s hiring practices, HEALTHCARE enrollment data, and predicted versus actual budget figures.    In doing so, the Union provided the District even more time to resolve its obligations associated with the requested information.

The Union team then immediately pivoted to a priority objective, further developing its, 1st PROPOSAL * CLASSIFIED Article 14: SAFETYCLASSIFIED CAUSE Proposal (1st) ARTICLE 14 SAFETY 2022-23.fin

Union leadership remains laser focused on the SAFETY of District students and employees. Putting our money where our mouths are, the Union demonstrated its commitment to student and employee SAFETY by encouraging the District to contractualize a variety of SAFETY focused best-practices.  These SAFETY best-practices would not only require District administration, but also require District personnel to take increased professional responsibility for maintaining a more effective District SAFETY environment.   Fortunately, the bargaining partners would not need to reinvent the wheel here.  When Superintendent Rigby arrived to the District, the SAFETY initiatives proposed by the Union were in force across the District.  Returning to a more effective SAFETY posture could be a matter of re-investing in and re-implementing these proposed SAFETY best-practices and protocols.

Prior to the end of the meeting, Union’s team submitted its finalized 1st PROPOSAL * CLASSIFIED Article 14: SAFETY.    We pointed the District to the bulk of the newly proposed language, which contained the SAFETY best-practices and protocols mentioned above. These can primarily be found in the 2nd half of the proposal.


In Full Transparency

[ Union Leadership recognizes that Superintendent Rigby’s influence over the last 5 years, which was been supported by the CUSD School Board, has severely undermined the District’s SAFETY posture.  This has recently been further demonstrated by the District’s response to the intruder event at the District Office & CANALINO ELEMENTARY school on Thursday, April 13, 2023.   Although the District wholly rejected the Union’s SAFETY proposals in the CERTIFICATED Bargaining environment, we hope the intruder event of last week will encourage District Leadership to reconsider their decision to divest in the SAFETY of District students and employees during Superintendent Rigby’s tenure with CUSD.]


Moving Forward:

The Union intends to begin the next scheduled bargaining session (to be held on April 25, 2023) by further clarifying the value of our SAFETY  proposals and answering any questions the District may have.

Your continued support and engagement is critical to informing our conversations with administration, the School Board, and the CUSD community.   Please consider joining us at the next CUSD School Board Meeting (also scheduled for April 25, 2023 * City Hall @ 5:30 PM).  It is important that District employees demonstrate their support for the contract improvements being proposed, including the important SAFETY upgrades that would better protect students, employees, and their families.



In Unity,


* j. Hotchner * CAUSE President

* Gina Marchand * CAUSE Secretary

* Arna Crittendon * CAUSE Representative

* Cynthia Crewdson * CAUSE Representative

* Felicity Moore * CAUSE Retiree, Past Vice-President, & Scribe

* Kassi Harris * CFT Regional Representative



C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *