Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chicago charters use 'scorched earth' tactics to beat unionization

Pro-union Chicago Math and Science Academy teachers and supporters before a board meeting in 2011.
Teachers and staff at Youth Connection Leadership Academy, a charter school on Chicago's south side, have voted to join the teacher union. The response from Youth Connection Charter School's management? They are threatening to close the school and fire everyone rather than allow their teachers to have collective-bargaining rights. So far, teachers and staff at 13 Chicago charters now have union representation.

Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (ACTS), the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO have joined together to file a complaint against with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board .
"This is union busting, plain and simple," said Brian Harris, president of the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, which the academy faculty had voted to join. "We've never had anything this drastic where they've threatened to fire everyone or close down a school. But, every single school where we've tried to organize, with the exception of one, we've faced some push-back."
In the past, Chicago charter school operators have even claimed that their schools weren't public, in order to evade ILRB jurisdiction.

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