Bronx charter school and UFT work toward first contract

The Bronx Community Charter School’s administration, its educators and the UFT are engaged in negotiations toward a first contract at the school, following an organizing victory there earlier this year.

Educators at the school located in the west Bronx organized a chapter of the UFT in the winter of 2013, citing the need for a collective voice at their school. In January, they sent a letter to the school’s administration outlining that they sought recognition of all the teaching and professional staff as respected partners in the school community to ensure the highest standard of learning for their students.

Two months later, the head of the school’s board of trustees wrote to the UFT that the school would voluntarily recognize the educators’ union, with the UFT as the exclusive collective-bargaining agent.

“These teachers want what all teachers want — what’s best for their students,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “Organizing a union gives them the collective voice to help their students achieve. I am proud to welcome them into our union.“

Second-grade teacher Christopher Whitney said that he saw unionization as a natural outgrowth of the vision of the school. “Forming a union means that we are committed to everyone’s voice being heard,” he said. “A union goes hand in hand with the democratic mission of the Bronx Community Charter School.”

Monique Dols, a K-2 Math Intervention Teacher, agreed. “Having union representation in our school will ensure that we can enshrine the things that we love about Bronx Community Charter School and build the structures and processes that we need to be the democratic and just school we envision,” she said.