WASHINGTON—Educators at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.’s first “green” public charter school located in the Truxton Circle neighborhood, voted by a 3-to-1 margin to unionize in a National Labor Relations Board election held today on the school’s campus.
Teachers and staff voted for the union to ensure that the school is a place where parents want to send their kids, where teachers want to work, and where the kids will thrive. They know that this starts with educators having a greater voice in decisions made by school administration, and requires additional investment and resources for the school’s students. The 115 teachers and staff will be represented by the District of Columbia Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, which is affiliated with the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers. The AFT is the nation’s second-largest teachers union, and has worked alongside other unions to organize nearly 12 percent of the charter schools in this country.
Mundo Verde is the second charter school to organize in the nation’s capital; its teachers and staff join the wave of educators at charters nationwide who want a genuine voice at work.
“It’s so fitting the educators at Mundo Verde voted overwhelmingly for a union during National Charter Schools Week,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Charters were supposed to be incubators, enabling parents and educators to have more of a role in students’ education, not competitors with public schools. And that’s what the educators at Mundo Verde want—an active role in the decision-making process at this school.
“Like so many other educators, teachers at Mundo Verde believe that having a say in how their school is run and being treated with dignity and respect are good not only for them, but also good for their students,” she said. “They know the union is an important vehicle for having a voice at work and helping meet the needs of students. I just got off the phone after talking to some of these educators, and am so proud of them and their devotion to the students and to each other.”
Following today’s vote, Mundo Verde educators will move to bargain a first contract with the school’s administration to ensure additional accountability, administrative transparency, and more resources and time to effectively identify and address student needs, as well as the high teacher attrition rate, which was nearly 30 percent this past school year.
Fourth-grade lead teacher Dani McCormick said: “I’m ecstatic that teachers and staff have demonstrated our spirit of collaboration and commitment to equity; we now have a real opportunity to be better advocates for our students and school community in the effort to make Mundo Verde the best version of itself.”
Kindergarten lead teacher Andrea Molina said: "While we teach our kids about social justice and equity, we do not always experience it ourselves. Our teachers and staff are a strong, dedicated team; they work around the clock to make our school an amazing place to teach and learn and to set an example for other schools in the district. Our victory tonight will ensure we are treated with the dignity and respect that reflects the commitment we each have made to our school.”
Nearly 7,000 charter schools serve 3.2 million students in the country, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The AFT represents more than 240 charter schools in 15 states and the District of Columbia.