Ca. State Agency Confirms CUSD’s Retaliation

Against Union Leadership


CUSD Employees, Colleagues, and Stakeholder Families,

Union Leadership is pleased to announce this historic legal victory !

Background & Recent Legal Decision:

On November 16, 2021, the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”), the California agency charged with upholding public employees’ labor rights, found that Carpinteria Unified School District (“District”) discriminated and retaliated against Carpinteria Association of United School Employees (“CAUSE”) Union President, Jay Hotchner.  At that time, the CUSD was required  by “PERB” to notify District employees of District leadership’s retaliatory actions.

Approximately two months later, the District quietly notified District employees with as little fanfare as possible, sending an after-hours email on Jan. 7, 2022, titled, “PERB Posting.” ( )   In it’s notification, the District neither explained itself nor provided any further expression of remorse and culpability; beyond the State’s summary and the Human Resource Director Diana Zapata’s signature (on behalf of Superintendent Diana Rigby’s) accepting liability for the District’s illegal actions.

(  )

Over this period, it appears the District spent approximately $400,000 – $500,000 trying to accomplish these types of retaliatory objectives.  Yet, it failed to mention the abuse of public trust and the significant financial costs associated with using public-monies to:

(A) retaliate against Union leadership

(B) defend its illegal actions (over a period of 2 years) in a State court, and…

(C) attempt to avoid legal accountability for its illegal behavior

The District’s brief notification, compelled by California “PERB”, also failed to mention that the CUSD School Board supported these violations by continuing to fund them (on several occasions) over the course of 2 years.   Nor did the CUSD’s notification attempt to explain its underlying violations,  (i.e. issuing Mr. Hotchner two Notices of Unprofessional Conduct [“45 Day Notices”] for engaging in protected union activity).  More specifically for :

1.)  representing classified employees in LAYOFF (“bumping  rights”) meetings; as permitted by the contract

2.)  representing certificated employees in grievance actions; as permitted by the contract

3.) representing employees who act to obtain copies of their personnel file; as permitted by the contract

PERB found that the District and its agents acted with an unlawful motive, because CUSD illegally issued the Notices as a result of the Union president’s (Mr. Hotchner’s) protected union activity.    Moreover, PERB determined that the District and its agents failed to prove that Mr. Hotchner engaged in the types of unprofessional conduct that the District used as a basis for the discipline it meted to CAUSE President Hotchner.  (  )

Moving Forward:

This victory sends a powerful message to the District administrators and Board Members who participated in and supported this retaliatory campaign.  It also further memorializes the CUSD’s unique anti-labor/anti-employee culture, fostered under Superintendent Diane Rigby and her select leadership team, as well as members of the CUSD Board of Trustees.   Like yourselves, they can be certain that your Union, led by CAUSE’s elected leadership and representatives, will fight for and protect its members from similar attacks and unprofessional administrative behavior.   We will not tolerate the District’s illegal actions. Nor should you.

We extend our appreciation to the many faculty, support staff, external agency partners, and District stakeholders who assisted in this matter and stood up to protect our critical Union rights!

It remains an honor to serve you.


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *