With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Historic union/charter school contract in N.Y.

Days after a trend-setting union vote in Chicago, the UFT and Green Dot Charter Schools signed "an innovative and pioneering collective bargaining agreement in New York." The contract was approved by Green Dot's Board of Trustees on Monday, and ratified by the UFT Tuesday.

UFT V.P. Leo Casey:
The 29 page agreement breaks vital new ground, and not simply because it brings together leading forces in the ranks of the charter school movement and teacher unionism. Just as importantly, the contract embodies a new model of labor relations in education, based on a disarmingly simple proposition: that a school which respects, nurtures and supports teacher professionalism in all of its work will provide the best education for students.

Green Dot visits Chicago 16 Aug 2007
I moderated the panel which included Green Dot's Steve Barr, CTU Prez Marilyn Stewart, and the IEA's Jo Anderson. It was a little strange, I mean, a pro-union charter operator and two union leaders voicing support for Al Shanker's 1988 ...


  1. Speaking of amazing reminders of why we need unions--note the North Carolina decision to lay off experienced teachers--even hose with good performance ratings (e.g. test scores or students) in favor of TFA teachers, including ones not yet hired!!

    I wonder why????? Could i be they are cheaper, more malleable, less trouble-making? Maybe we need to unionize TFA?


  2. Mike--

    Thank you for this post. Do you agree that the contract is innovative and pioneering? No strike/No lock out? Your take? Progressive Discipline? "Depending on the facts of each case, examples of such misconduct may include, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO..." What do you think?

    Love ST. Follow it daily. Thanks again...

  3. Cal

    I think the contract is historic, innovative and pioneering for many reasons. Most importantly, for the first time, it gives teachers in charter schools protection against arbitrarily firing. It gives teachers a large voice in the decision making. It's size, 29 pages, is certainly historic. Class size is protected and many other factors necessary to a good learning community are written in.

    As for no strike/no lock out during the term of the contract, I don't lnow why, if there is a good arbitration process for grievances, there would be a strike or lockout when both parties are bound by a contract they signed.

    Of course, if management breaks the contract, teachers would no longer be bound by it either. The agreement shows good will on the part of both parties.

    Finally, I may not like every piece of the agreement and you may not either. But we are not the Green Dot teachers. The contract is theirs to agree to or not. That is what collective bargaining is all about. Right?

    It's amazing that in the year 2009, teachers still have to fight for that basic democratic right, school by school. So this is a historic victory.

  4. Thank you, Mike. You're right. I'm not a Green Dot teacher and I don't live in Chi. If the teachers there are happy with this contract more power to them. However, I do wonder about the strategy of replacing veteran teachers (e.g., here in LA at Locke) with others who MUST accept contracts with weaker terms. Is that good? With the current meltdown here in Cali, is reforming education with unproven charters the way to go? Or should federal dollars be spent hiring back teachers like the three excellent ones that were just laid off at my school? Do you like the charter concept? Many of your posts indicate that you don't. But others seem favorable towards Green Dot and Steve Barr. Are you saying charters are an unstoppable train so we better just deal? How much of an impact do you predict they'll eventually make? Your answers to these questions are greatly appreciated.

  5. Excuse the error in my last comment: of course the contract being discussed is in NY not Chi.

  6. As a California mother (albeit 450 miles north, in San Francisco), I echo California Father's excellent questions.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.