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Teachers at Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School Organize to Join UFT

From the UFT press release:

Educators seek more collaborative work environment and voice in school policy

Teachers and staff at the Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School in the South Bronx announced on March 12 their intention to join the UFT.

The entire teaching staff, along with other staff members at the school, have signed union authorization cards.

In a letter given to the school’s principal, the teachers’ organizing committee called for a more formal and collective voice in the school community to “ensure the quality of our students’ education.”

The UFT filed a formal petition today with the school’s board of trustees, and notified the state’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) that Bronx Academy of Promise teachers are seeking union recognition. If the school’s board does not recognize the union as the bargaining representative within 30 days, the UFT can ask PERB to certify the bargaining unit on the basis of the authorization cards.

“These teachers want the best for their students. They are dedicated to their school and creating the best learning environment that they possibly can. We are proud to welcome them into our union,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

“This is about job security, but it is also about making sure the school moves in the right direction,” said teacher Reagan Fletcher. “We are with our kids eight hours a day and deserve a voice in the policy decisions that affect them. Ultimately, this will benefit our children.”

“This will let us fulfill the mission of our school: to give the students the best possible school and the education they deserve,” said teacher Melissa Garcia.

The school, located at 1166 River Avenue in the Bronx, has been in operation since the fall of 2008, and currently serves approximately 240 students in kindergarten through 4th grade. The school employs 17 teachers, four teaching assistants, a social worker and several other staff members.

The UFT represents educators at ten other charter schools in New York City and co-operates a school in collaboration with Green Dot, a successful and labor-friendly charter school operator based in Los Angeles.

Additionally, in January, educators at the NYC Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries (AECI) in Queens voted overwhelmingly to unionize. On January 13, the AECI staff filed a formal petition with PERB seeking union recognition; a pre-hearing conference with both parties and PERB is scheduled for April 7th at PERB’s office in Downtown Brooklyn.

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4 Comments:

  • 1 BUBBA
    · Mar 13, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Pretty cool. Blaze the trail and the rest will follow.

  • 2 Janey
    · Mar 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Yay! So what will the union bashers do (unions have destroyed public schools!) when all the charters are also unionized? There is a reason there are teacher unions all over the world, and it’s not just for pay.

  • 3 Michael B
    · Mar 16, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    I salute their courage!

  • 4 Terry-Ann Witts
    · May 12, 2010 at 10:54 am

    The job of a teacher is to impart their knowledge to their students. In order for our teachers to be truly effective in what they do, they need to be well taken care of. I support the teacher’s union because the union helps teachers to feel more secure in their jobs and the role they play as educators in today’s society. The reason for my support of the union is that it negotiates for fair and competitive salaries, enhanced professionalism and improved working conditions. The teachers union is beneficial not only to teachers but to the education system in general. It lends effort to raise academic standards, reducing class size and creating safe and orderly schools. It is for this reason the teacher’s organizing committee of the Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School calls for a more formal voice to “ensure the quality of our students education.”
    Seeing as how charter schools were supposed to be union free, I am therefore happy that the teachers at this Bronx charter school have voted to unionize. When reading this article it is obvious that the efforts the teachers from this particular school are trying to make to join the UFT are one that will help to make their teaching and learning experience greatly beneficial for both teachers and students. The teachers in this school complain that they play a significant part in their student’s life since they are with them for eight hours out of the day. “We deserve a voice in the policy decision that affects them,” states one teacher blatantly. The teachers at this school are also looking out for the security of their jobs, as well as “ensuring that the school moves in the right direction” stated another teacher named Regan Fletcher. This is very encouraging to me now as a future teacher. It was my fear that the charter schools were coming to take over and that teachers would be handing over their rights to a more suitable working environment on a platter for the government to devour. This school in the Bronx is reaching out to be apart of the teachers union and I hope it will be a wake up call for the other charter schools as they too have a right for their voices to be heard.