Frequently Asked Questions

South Bay United Teachers (SBUT) is a joint venture of the Centinela Valley Secondary Teachers Association (CVSTA), the Manhattan Beach Unified Teachers Association (MBUTA), Palos Verdes Faculty Association (PVFA), and the Redondo Beach Teachers Association (RBTA).

You may hear the term “UniServ.” That is the function SBUT serves for the local chapters in relation to the state and national organizations. SBUT provides “unified services” to the four local chapters. It has one Executive Director and two office staff who provide support through the office. Each of the local chapters have representatives on the SBUT Board of Directors.

South Bay United Teachers (SBUT) establishes norms and best practices on behalf of our members. Ever mindful of our members’ district needs, SBUT provides information and training to our membership and coordinates how best to apply this knowledge to the work of the Association.

South Bay United Teachers protects and promotes the well-being of its members while strengthening local associations in their ability to develop educational and organizational leadership. We provide best practices for united action and advance the education, human dignity and civil rights of all children and youth through promoting the quality and funding of public schools.

South Bay United Teachers employs professional staff and maintains a centrally located meeting hall and office facility to conduct business as per the UniServ agreement between South Bay United Teachers and the California Teachers Association/National Education Association.

Nothing! Used interchangeably, they refer to the ‘local union chapter’ in your district. Your local / union / chapter / association is either CVSTA, MBUTA, PVFA or RBTA.

When you join your local chapter you are joining the UniServ which includes the State and national organizations as well. You cannot join one without joining the others.

To become a member, you simply need to complete an enrollment form and turn it in to the office. You can mail your form or send it electronically to Lissa at Once we receive your form, we will immediately activate your membership and inform the district. Membership forms are digital and will be emailed within 48 hours of membership activation. You can always check on your membership status by calling the office at 310-921-2500.

Dues are a significant investment, but we believe well worth it. The union wheels are always turning behind the scenes to defend your contractual rights. And if you have a personal situation that requires union support, the “insurance” of union membership is significant.

Your dues establish membership in your local chapter & SBUT as well as the state and national organizations (California Teachers Association- CTA and the National Education Association- NEA).

Dues money pays for membership benefits such as liability insurance, legal protections outside the scope of the contract, and various economics benefits. But dues mostly pay for collective bargaining. Your contract (which includes salary schedule, benefits and other terms and conditions of your employment) must be negotiated with the district. If collective bargaining were not required, your salary, benefits, terms and conditions of employment would be solely at the discretion of your school district.

Supporting collective bargaining is a big undertaking. CTA & NEA keep up with all proposed and enacted legislation that affects public education, with statewide statistics for school districts, and with all issues affecting your job as an educator. Some folks object to CTA and NEA’s involvement in the political arena, but the fact is that politics play a major role in your job as an educator as we’ve seen in attempts to reduce your retirement benefits, vouchers, attacks on permanent status, and a whole myriad of issues over the years.

Your local chapter has a separate political action fund, funded voluntarily, that members may contribute to in order to support campaigns for local issues (like school board elections and local bond elections). Your chapter’s PAC (Political Action Committee) with approval of chapter leadership, determines how those funds are spent. NEA has a separate political action fund, also funded voluntarily, for national campaigns. CTA uses a portion of its budget for state political action, based on the recommendations of the CTA State Council. CTA members may request that the portion of their dues that is designated for political action instead be directed into the general fund. Call the office for information.

CTA makes decisions about who to endorse for political offices and what position to take on ballot measures and pending legislation. These decisions are made through the CTA policy-making body—State Council. State Council meets in Los Angeles several times a year and has elected representatives from all over California. Any member can attend State Council, but only reps are permitted to vote.

A grievance is a written statement by a member citing a specific section of the contract that has allegedly been violated or misapplied, and a statement of the redress requested. A grievance is directed towards the district. Bargaining unit members do not file grievances against each other or against members of CSEA-the classified union. If there is an issue that is not addressed in the contract, it is likely a “complaint,” which is handled through a district procedure.

SBUT provides an office facility for meetings/trainings/bargaining/workshops, a facility for housing documents, a facility for access to office supplies & equipment, and a facility for providing a central hub for communication between members, their local chapters and CTA/NEA.

The SBUT Executive Director serves as a negotiator and/or consultant to each chapter leadership team, attends and provides support & information for chapter meetings, provides budget analysis information & interpretation, assists in document preparation, represents and serves as spokesperson of the Association, provides leadership support, stays current & provides information on education & labor issues & legislation, serves as conduit for legal service advice, provides situational evaluation and advisement, counsels members on professional problems, represents members at related meetings, aids in resolution of grievances, answers membership concerns, provides and/or arranges for training to chapter leaders and to the general members, writes, edits and provides research for numerous publications each year, provides representation at layoff hearings, assists in chapter political activities, and is responsible for the overall functioning of SBUT.

The SBUT Office staff provide support for each local chapters’ governance body (known as “Rep Council”) including processing memberships, maintaining current & accurate membership data & providing to chapter leadership as requested, maintaining chapter financial information and preparing financial reports, preparing legal assistance referral forms, coordinating and implementing chapter programs, maintaining the SBUT website, providing notarial services, coordinating the tutoring program, complying with FPPC, IRS, CTA & NEA regulations, providing information to state and national associations when requested, preparing publications and information, preparing ballots and election materials, compiling survey information, researching and compiling statistics and other information, delivering & picking up mail, arranging reservations for meetings, conferences and dinners as well as other required logistics, assisting with workshops, preparing agendas and maintaining minutes for chapters, maintaining records & files for four local chapters, SBUT and two Political Action Committees, answering member questions, processing mail, ordering office supplies, printing, publications, plaques and awards, maintaining office equipment , managing the SBUT office (utilities, insurance, phones, computers, etc.) and assisting chapter leadership as requested.

As a member of a union, you should work to develop professional, collegial relationships with your union brothers and sisters. Unionists believe very strongly in “An injury to one is an injury to all”. This means that if there is an injustice or inequity, as unionists we work collectively to correct it.

Become familiar with your own chapter contract. It is on your chapter’s page of the website.

Know who your reps are. Attend union site meetings. When you can’t attend in person, ask one of your colleagues to fill you in on what was discussed.

Make sure your reps have your non-district contact information. All of our presidents send out information periodically to our members, but they do not use school district email addresses. It’s also good to keep your cell phone number and home number updated so that you stay in the information loop.

Consider becoming a site rep. Elections are held each spring.

Your chapter president appears regularly at school board meetings and you may be asked to come out and support the union from time to time. Your attendance is always appropriate.