By Rob Callaghan
In another victory for the UFT’s effort to organize New York City charter schools, educators at Fahari Academy Charter School in Brooklyn announced on Oct. 4 that they have organized a union at the school and intend to join the UFT.
A majority of the educators at the Flatbush school have signed union authorization cards, and the UFT has filed a formal petition for recognition with the school’s board on their behalf and notified the state’s Public Employment Relations Board that Fahari teachers are seeking union recognition.
If the school does not voluntarily recognize the union within 30 days, the UFT can petition PERB to certify it on the basis of the authorization cards.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew warmly welcomed the Fahari teachers into the union.
“These dedicated educators want what is best for their students, and they know that having a union will help them achieve it,” Mulgrew said. “I’m very pleased they have chosen the UFT to represent them.”
Fahari currently serves more than 250 students in grades 5 through 7 but plans to expand through grade 12.
The teachers informed the school’s board and executive director, Catina Venning, of their intentions in a letter in which they outlined their vision for the school and their belief in its mission “of instilling in its students the ‘core values that are critical for academic, social and professional success.’”
“We believe that by establishing a collective voice within our school community, we will be in a better position to realize this mission and to provide our students with the best possible education to ensure that they become productive members of our society,” the educators wrote.
Special education teacher Tiffany Jones said that forming a union will help foster a positive school culture that will benefit students.
“When administration, teachers and staff work together, students excel,” she said. “Our union will give teachers strength to be able to help the students soar to new heights.”
Jones’ colleague, first-year teaching assistant Bethany Murano, echoed that sentiment.
“Being part of this union is more than coming together with my colleagues and earning the respect we deserve; it’s about creating an environment where I can be the best teacher I can be for my students,” said Murano, who teaches math. “I’ve never been more excited to be a part of something in my life!”
With the decision of the Fahari teachers to join the UFT, the union now represents educators at 14 charter schools on 16 campuses.