Sweetwater Administrators Join AFSA

Sweetwater Union High School District (Caifornia) principals and assistant principals are the latest group of school administrators to join AFSA, as part of the Administrators Association Sweetwater Union (AASU), Local 150.

Last month the school district voluntarily recognized AASU without calling for an official election. AASU includes about 90 principals and assistant principals as members. The state of California via its Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) certified AASU as a union in late May.

AASU will operate under the umbrella of the United Administrators Southern California (UASC), which will coordinate formalizing of the new union, bargaining the first collective bargaining agreement and providing ongoing representation.  

AASU is the third administrator union in San Diego County, joining the Administrators Association of San Deigo City Schools, AFSA Local 134, which formed in 2009 and represents about 600 principals, vice principals and other managers, and the Administrators Association of Chula Vista, AFSA Local 145, which formed a couple years ago representing about 50 principals and vice principals.

“Our new union is only as strong as the membership, and we hope you will see the value in joining AASU,” said Donis Coronel, executive director of UASC.

On June 12, 2024, the San Diego Union Tribune wrote:

“We could see our colleagues in other districts and the benefits they were reaping from having a union, and we were not having those same benefits,” said Mabelle Glithero, assistant principal at Montgomery High School and one of the union organizers.

Members of the new union hope to, among other things, improve benefits, establish reassignment protections and formalize processes for hiring and interviewing, said Carlotta Love, assistant principal at Chula Vista High School and another union organizer.

They hope to address issues like staffing ratios—they noted that all middle schools and all high schools get the same numbers of assistant principals, even though enrollment for middle schools ranges from 500 to 1,700 and enrollment for high schools ranges from 1,300 to 2,500.

“Being a union now gives Sweetwater school administrators a stronger voice and this new power will enhance their ability to deliver a better education to the children of this community,” said Donis Coronel, executive director of the umbrella organization and former director of the San Diego Unified administrators union, in a statement.

The union expects to begin bargaining for a new contract in about six months.

In a statement, the district said it is “pleased to collaborate productively” with the new union and looks “forward to fostering a constructive partnership that prioritizes the well-being and success of our school leaders and the entire educational community.”