A decisive majority of educators at a leading North Philadelphia charter high school have filed for an official union election with the National Labor Relations Board and will vote imminently to join the American Federation of Teachers.
Over 90 percent of New Foundations Charter School’s 53 high school teachers and professional support staff signed cards to establish a union, delivered today to the Philadelphia office of the National Labor Relations Board. The board is likely to order an election before the end of the school year. New Foundations would become the fifth Philadelphia charter school to unionize.
Educators are raising their voices to improve resources for kids through a consistent curriculum, shared governance and enhanced professional development. They are standing up for freedom from arbitrary decisions by the school administration, improved job security, a recognized salary schedule with defined steps, a consistent family and parental leave policy, and full participation in the state pension system.
Joe Burns, an 11th- and 12th-grade English teacher, said: “I’m organizing because a teacher’s experience and expertise deserve respect.” Zach Riegler, a 9th-grade social studies teacher, said: “I’m organizing because my family deserves a raise and my students deserve more resources to realize their dreams.”
AFT Pennsylvania President Ted Kirsch, who is an AFT vice president, said: “Around the state and the country, educators at charter schools are joining together so they can have a real say over the decisions that shape their students’ education. Just like their peers at traditional public schools, educators at charters are voting ‘union yes’ so they can work collaboratively with school administrations to improve outcomes for kids.”
The American Federation of Teachers, AFT Pennsylvania’s national affiliate, represents 231 charter schools in 15 states nationwide.