Union Certified at Four Chicago Charter Schools

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The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board on June 2 certified the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS) as the collective bargaining representative for 98 teachers at four charter schools operated by ASPIRA Inc., clearing the way for negotiations to begin with teachers at ASPIRA's Haugan Middle School, Mirta Ramirez Computer Science High School, Early College High School and Antonia Pantoja High School.

All schools, including charter schools, improve when teachers have a voice in decisions about their students' education and the conditions in which they work, AFT president Randi Weingarten says. "ASPIRA charter school teachers now have a seat at the table, and this is good news for their students.

"The ASPIRA teachers want what all teachers want—a great place to work that provides the tools and conditions for teachers and students to succeed. Union representation now gives ASPIRA teachers the opportunity to collaborate with school administrators on teaching practices, selection of programs offered to students on the four campuses, and other policies and reforms.

"I congratulate the teachers for the hard work and perseverance that brought them to this milestone. Their commitment to involving parents and the wider community in their schools was reflected by the support of parent-teacher organization members throughout the organizing campaign."

Chicago ACTS, an affiliate of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the AFT, will represent the ASPIRA teachers. Chicago ACTS already represents teachers at three Chicago International Charter Schools run by the Civitas education management group, and at the Chicago Talent Development High School operated by Union Park High Schools Inc. The AFT represents teachers at 150 charter schools throughout the country.

June 2, 2010