Chicago charter teachers and staff vote to join AFT
Teachers and staff in the one of Chicago’s largest charter school networks overwhelmingly have chosen the Chicago Alliance of Charter School Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS), an affiliate of the AFT and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, as their bargaining agent.
The decision involves more than 400 teachers and staff in 13 schools operated by the United Neighborhood Organization. In March, UNO and the AFT reached a neutrality agreement under which UNO agreed not to take a position on whether its teachers and staff organized. Some 87 percent of the 415 workers who voted approved Chicago ACTS as their bargaining agent.
The decision by UNO employees to join Chicago ACTS means that more than 20 percent of Chicago’s charter school teachers and staff are now unionized—the highest union density where charter school employees do not automatically have a union.
“This is a turning point,” says AFT president Randi Weingarten. “This has the potential to change the conversation between charter operators and teachers. It is a signal that the anti-union atmosphere and climate we’ve seen in charters may be changing. It is also an example of another charter school operator recognizing that it can’t succeed without the voices of those who work most closely with students and can best advocate for what students need to succeed—things like smaller class sizes and a great curriculum.
“I am humbled and honored that the UNO educators see our union as their voice, and we will work hard collectively to live up to that trust,” Weingarten adds.
Phil Mullins, chief operating officer for UNO, says a good relationship between UNO management and the union is essential in ensuring continued education reform.
“UNO has participated in a successful agreement with Chicago ACTS and the IFT-AFT. With this partnership, UNO continues to be committed to providing the very best public education for our more than 6,500 students and their families,” says Mullins. “This also provides an opportunity for UNO and Chicago ACTS to begin to elevate the dialogue around school reform in the spirit of cooperation rather than competition.”
In taking the step to unionize, teachers and staff recognized that having a collective voice enhances their ability to advocate on behalf of the students and families they serve, says IFT president Dan Montgomery, who is an AFT vice president.
“The UNO effort is a great example of what can happen when teachers and management work together for what’s most important—the students,” Montgomery says. “Teachers know firsthand what works in the classroom and how children learn best. Their ability to advocate for high-quality education with a collective voice will greatly benefit the students and our communities.”
Brian Harris, president of Chicago ACTS, says UNO’s position during the organizing effort sets a tone that should be followed by other charter school management companies.
“UNO’s actions set forth a reasonable standard for other charter school operators to follow, and we expect them to follow similar law-abiding standards,” Harris says. “Instead of taking a hard, anti-union line, UNO has simply followed the law and shown confidence in its employees.” [AFT press release]
May 1, 2013Read More
On May 10th, the Douglas County Federation Teachers and Classified Employees will be hosting its 41st annual Student Awards Ceremony. The DCF will honor one student from every neighborhood and charter school in our district. It is an exciting night where teachers, parents and school administrators come together to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the students in Douglas County. For more information on this event, please feel to contact us at email@example.com
For over forty years, the Douglas County Federation has been working with teachers and school employees in the Douglas County School District. During that time the Federation has been a steadfast partner in quality education by instituting pay for performance for teachers and creating a culture of innovation in the classroom.
This work includes:
- Providing research-based, nationally recognized professional development to teachers and school employees so they can better serve our students.
- Providing free curriculum classes for parents so they are better able to be involved and assist their children at home.
- Providing research-based, best-practice information around classroom conditions and instructional time and, in the past, working hand-in-hand with the District to implement new innovative practices for the benefit of students.
- Honoring outstanding students, this May will be our 41st award ceremony.
- Providing scholarships for the continued education of teachers and other school employees
Taxpayers for Public Education to appeal Court of Appeals decision.
Fight Now Heads to Colorado State Supreme Court
A divided panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals today voted 2 to 1 to reverse a trial court injunction against the voucher program instituted by the Douglas County School District (DCSD). In a lengthy and strongly-worded dissenting opi
Taxpayers for Public Education (TFPE), one of the plaintiffs that sued DCSD to enjoin the voucher program, plans to appeal the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court. “We are disappointed but not discouraged,” says Anne Kleinkopf, one of the directors of Taxpayers for Public Education. “The arc of history is long but it bends toward justice. The arc of this case now bends toward the Colorado Supreme Court; and we are certain that the Supreme Court will rule, as the trial court did, that the DCSD voucher program is illegal, unconstitutional and deeply unjust.”
The voucher program takes monies appropriated by the Colorado State Legislature for the public school children of Colorado and gives those monies to private, primarily religious schools for the education of a select group of children in Douglas County, the wealthiest county in Colorado.
The voucher program has been controversial and unpopular from the start. Cindy Barnard, President of TFPE, said, ”The public did not ask for the voucher program and the School District’s own survey shows the majority of Douglas County families are against it. The public wants the District to turn its attention to educating the majority, and not waste time and money on a program that will serve only a very few.”
Taxpayers for Public Education, (TFPE), is a Colorado-based, bi-partisan, 501c4 organization. The members are Colorado taxpayers and parents of children enrolled in public schools. TFPE supports public education and believes that a strong public education system is instrumental in building and maintaining an extraordinary workforce that will keep American companies and American entrepreneurship viable and robust to meet the challenges in the years ahead. For more information, please visit: www.taxpayersforpubliceducatio
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Contrary to what a select few try to say about our organization, our members are the custodians, teachers, educational assistants, office staff, nurses, nutrition service workers, professional development leaders, operations and maintenance specialists, childcare leaders, IT specialists, preschool teachers, security specialists, and librarians who make sure the children of Douglas County learn and stay safe. They are the REAL Douglas County Federation!Read More