by Rob Callaghan
The educators at Bronx Community Charter School have become the latest group to announce that they have joined the UFT, citing the need for a collective voice at their school.
Educators at the school in the west Bronx announced their decision to the administration in a January letter outlining their desire for 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.
On March 25, the head of the Board of Trustees wrote to the UFT to say that the school would voluntarily recognize the educators’ union and identified 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 will give 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 organizing a union 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, Whitney’s co-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.
Now that teachers have a collective voice at the school, they say that they are excited to begin the process of negotiating a contract that meets the needs of students and staff.
The Bronx Community Charter School currently serves approximately 175 students in grades K-5, but plans to expand through grade 8.
The UFT now represents educators at 19 charter schools on 20 campuses.