More Chicago Charter School Teachers and Staff Vote Overwhelmingly to Form a Union

More Chicago Charter School Teachers and Staff Vote Overwhelmingly to Form a Union

Chicago – The teachers, support staff, and clinicians from Passages Charter School in the West Edgewater neighborhood voted overwhelmingly to form a union in order to improve teaching and learning for the students they serve. Nearly 80% of those voting chose to form a union, which will represent 46 people at the school.

Passages educators cited many reasons for voting to unionize, including the opportunity to more effectively advocate for and provide legally mandated supports for the school’s diverse population. Passages serves a large number of immigrant and refugee families with students who are English language learners.

“Passages teachers and staff unionized so our school’s resources can be allocated to benefit our diverse population of students,” said Ann Stella-Tayler, a Passages paraprofessional who works with special education students. “A union will allow us to work collaboratively with administration on providing the best possible education for students. With unity, we can continue making Passages an amazing place for students and staff.”

“Passages is part of me, and forming a union further invests me in this great community,” said Michael Scott-Rudnick, a science and writing teacher. “Unions ensure stability for teachers and staff, who provide stability for our students and empower us to have the voice we need to participate in decisions involving curriculum and classroom resources.”

Teachers and staff filed for their intent to unionize with the National Board of Labor Relations (NLRB) on March 9. Results of today’s successful vote will be submitted to the NLRB for certification.

“This is a growing movement, and we’ve now reached a tipping point in Chicago, where teachers at a quarter of all charter schools in the city have come together to join the American Federation of Teachers,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “It’s a ground-up effort by teachers who’ve stuck together in spite of many charter employers’ anti-union tactics. Today’s vote shows yet again that there is strong demand among teachers at charters for a voice in decisions that affect their students, fair evaluations that help them grow professionally, due process protections, and transparency and accountability from their employers.”

“I applaud the professionals at Passages Charter School for raising up their voices together,” said Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery, a high school English teacher. “Teachers and staff are on the front line every day and know what works best in the classroom. Strong staffs lead to strong schools, and their ability to advocate together for high-quality education will greatly benefit the Passages students and broader community.”

“It has been a privilege getting to know these educators as they organized, and we’re very proud to welcome them into our family,” said Local 4343 President Brian Harris, who teaches at CICS Northtown Academy. “Their courage and hard work to fight for a collective voice has inspired all of us to renew our commitment to our union and our students.”

Located in the West Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, Passages Charter School serves students pre-K through 8th grade. It is run by American Quality Schools (AQS) and is a division of Asian Human Services (501c3).

Passages educators will join ChicagoACTS (Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff) Local 4343, an affiliate of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers.

ChicagoACTS currently represents nearly 1,000 teachers and staff at 32 charter school campuses across Chicago.

Aviva F. Bowen | Director of Communications
Illinois Federation of Teachers
500 Oakmont Lane, Westmont, IL 60559
T: (630) 468-4080 | E: abowen@ift-aft.org

www.ift-aft.org | www.facebook.com/iftaft | @iftaft

Photo:audio-luci-store/Flickr

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