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Charter School Teachers Choose IFT

5/02/2013

It certainly is fitting that a landmark decision by Chicago charter school teachers to join a union happened on May Day. On the same day in 1886, more than 80,000 workers marched in Chicago to fight for the 8 hour work day. That rally sparked a worldwide labor movement and is the reason many countries still celebrate May 1 as International Workers Day.

The significance of yesterday’s vote in Chicago by more than 400 teachers and staff at UNO charter schools was not lost on AFT President Randi Weingarten...

“This is a turning point,” said Weingarten. “This has the potential to change the conversation between charter operators and teachers. It is a signal that the anti-union atmosphere and climate we’ve seen in charters may be changing.”

The Sun Times also noted the trend in Chicago…

The vote means more than 20 percent of teachers and other staff at charter schools in Chicago now belong to unions, labor leaders said. The vote at the UNO schools had 87 percent in favor of joining Chicago ACTS, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, labor leaders said.

It’s clear these teachers wanted to join a union

“It’s very, very high approval across all campuses. I think we had three campuses with 100 percent of the teachers saying yes, so it’s overwhelming approval,” said UNO-Garcia High technology teacher Alvin Colon. Colon says a union will be good for education at UNO.

“I think it will have great, positive impact. A number of my colleagues are passionate teachers. They want to continue improving at what they do. The union is going help solidify the team and make for considerably less turnover.”

And hopefully that message is being heard by those who want to deny charter school teachers the right to collectively advocate for students

“If people think that somehow charters are a path to getting around teachers unions or getting away from teachers unions, I think that puts the lie to that.” Montgomery also said when employers make clear they are willing to let workers unionize, nearly all will choose to do so.

 You can read the union press release here.

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