Board Rules in Favor of Union at New York Charter School

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Teachers and staff at the New York French American Charter School in Harlem won a Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) decision on March 14 that confirms their vote to join the United Federation of Teachers.

A large majority of the teaching staff, along with other staff members at the school, signed union cards in November and delivered a letter to the principal and the school's board announcing their decision to seek union representation. The school's board refused to recognize the union, and the UFT asked PERB to certify the bargaining unit.

"Since the petitioner has submitted evidence that it represents a majority of the employees in the unit, pursuant to §201.9(g)(1) of the Rules, it has thereby satisfied the requirements for certification without an election and is eligible to be certified as the exclusive negotiating agent of the unit," ruled Monte Klein, director Public Employment Practices and Representation.

"Charter school teachers want representation and a voice to help do what is best for their students," says UFT president Michael Mulgrew, who is an AFT vice president. "We are happy to welcome the NYFACS teachers and staff into the UFT family."

"Being member of a union will make me feel safe and secure to fulfill my mission as a teacher," says Awa Diop, a founding teacher at the school. "The union allows me to express myself in a productive way to help the success of NYFACS."

The next step in the collective bargaining process will be for the teachers and the charter school board to negotiate a contract.

The New York French American Charter School, which serves about 200 students in kindergarten through second grade, offers bilingual and bicultural instruction in French and English. [United Federation of Teachers]

March 15, 2012