LOS ANGELES, Calif. --- It's starting: Earlier this month, Adventist teachers from the Southern California Conference met together in the first Adventist Teachers Union meeting. Much like the Public School Teachers Union, the labor partnership is aimed at protecting teachers’ rights, specifically protesting the seven day workweek that has been imposed on them since 1984.
The move has not been met with smiles from church administrators: “We are very much against any kind of union,” said Southern California Conference spokesperson, Tim Newton. “How are we going to force teachers to go to church, supervise vespers, work lock-ins on Saturday nights and go to conventions during the summer if they form a labor union?”
Many teachers, on the other hand, are encouraged by the news: “This is a huge step in the right direction,” said Phil Ames, Science, English, and Algebra teacher for Glendale Academy. “Many teachers, after they are done working Monday through Friday, have to set up tables for a class vespers on a Friday night, arrive at the gymnasium early on Alumni Sabbath to help with food, and end up coaching for some sort of tournament on a Sunday. After these 'volunteer’ activities, it’s back to work on Monday. It’s time we get a break like those conference workers do.”
“I haven’t eaten a meal with my kids for ages,” said Andrew Prout, a History teacher at Newbury Park Academy. “This seven day workweek stuff has got to go.”
“I’m happy to be a part of this new union,” said Anneke Prout, Andrew’s wife and Spanish teacher at San Fernando Valley Academy. “Maybe my husband and I can actually spend more than ten minutes together each week.”
The first action of the union will be to hold a protest outside the SCC conference offices. Organizers are confident this will create a “school shutdown.” Conference officials, however, insist all schools will stay open.
“We’re not worried at all about the upcoming teachers strike,” said Newton. “We’ll just have parents babysit... I mean substitute for the missing teachers. Heck, we’ve been doing that anyway.”
Special thanks to Bungalow Bill of Los Angeles, Calif. for the story