More Charter Teachers Vote To Unionize
Four more Chicago charter schools have decided to unionize, according to this press release from Chicago ACTS, an AFT-funded charter unionization initiative. Can you guess which ones? Over all, nearly 100 teachers voted two to one in favor.
More Charter School Teachers Say 'Yes' to Union Representation
Staff at four ASPIRA campuses file authorization cards
CHICAGO--Continuing a growing trend, teachers at four Chicago charter schools are seeking union representation. Teachers who work at the campuses of ASPIRA schools presented principals with notice of their action on March 19. The teachers asked that ASPIRA Inc. of Illinois recognize their union, the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS), and enter into the collective bargaining process.
"Our action sends a strong and clear message to ASPIRA that we believe forming our union will lead to greater collaboration and better results for our students," said Alexa Sorock, a humanities teacher and department head at ASPIRA Early College High School and a Chicago ACTS member. "We expect ASPIRA will recognize our union so we can begin collective bargaining."
Teachers at ASPIRA's Haugan Middle School, Mirta Ramirez Computer Science High School, Early College High School and Antonia Pantoja High School notified principals at the four campuses that they had filed authorization-for-representation cards with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. More than two-thirds of the nearly 100 teachers at the four campuses, well in excess of the number required by law, signed authorization cards to form a union.
"Forming our union means having an equal voice to work together with school administration to improve learning at all four campuses," said George Smith, a math teacher at Mirta Ramirez. "That unified voice sets up a process for the committed and dedicated educators of ASPIRA schools to help create and implement policies that will benefit the students, faculty and community."
ASPIRA teachers' desire to form their union also has support from the community. "A union contract will provide consistency, transparency and stability for the administration, students and teachers," said Juan Andrade, president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. "That stability will help these schools deliver the promise of the ASPIRA mission and the mission of each school."
"I congratulate the teachers for their decision to form a union that will benefit every partner at ASPIRA--teachers, administrators, students and the community," said Emily Mueller, president of Chicago ACTS and a high school Spanish teacher at Civitas Northtown Academy. Teachers at Chicago charter schools operated by Civitas formed their union and negotiated their first contract in 2009.
"Our union will work in partnership with ASPIRA to move forward and make our schools even better," said Nicholas Aquino, a history teacher at ASPIRA Early College High School. "We want to ensure that teachers work in an environment that supports and sustains their efforts, which will help recruit and retain qualified and experienced teachers."
Chicago ACTS is a joint project of the American Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Chicago Teachers Union, and is an affiliate of the IFT.