Lefferts Gardens educators join UFT

By Rob Callaghan

The educators at Lefferts Gardens Charter School in Brooklyn have joined together to form a union at their school.

In an April 15 letter to the school’s administration and board of trustees, the 32 teachers and teaching assistants invoked the vision and mission of the school as their reason for joining the UFT and expressed the desire to work collaboratively with the administration to continue to make progress at the school. In a separate letter to parents and guardians, educators asked for parents’ support of their decision to form a union, noting that the stability the union provides will help students, parents and teachers alike.

“I believe that Lefferts Gardens Charter School is a great school that deserves great teachers,” said kindergarten teacher Mirana Moore. “Joining the union will undoubtedly make the school a better learning environment for students because it will make it a better work environment for teachers.”

Third-grade teacher Meredith McArdle also made the connection between unionization and a stronger teaching force. “Having a union at Lefferts Charter School will provide a stable and supportive group of life-long learners and educators,” she said.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew welcomed the educators to the UFT. “These teachers are devoted to making their school a great learning environment for their students,” he said. “I am proud to welcome these hardworking teachers into our union.”

The UFT has asked the school’s board of trustees to voluntarily recognize the teachers union at Lefferts Gardens Charter School. At the same time, the UFT notified the state’s Public Employment Relations Board that the teachers are seeking union recognition.

The charter school, which has a focus on environmental science, currently serves about 150 students in grades K–3 and plans to expand through grade 8.

Originally published in the May 16, 2013 New York Teacher