New union at Lefferts Gardens gets state certification

Educators at Lefferts Gardens Charter School in Brooklyn have won state certification for their union, with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board recognizing the school’s UFT chapter as the exclusive bargaining agent for its educators.

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 recognition capped a unionization effort by the school’s teachers and teaching assistants in the 2012-13 school year. At the height of the drive to form a union, educators at the school wrote a letter to the school’s administrators and board of trustees invoking the vision and mission of the school as their reason for joining the UFT. They 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, the 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. The school, which has a focus on environmental science, currently serves about 300 students in grades K–3 and plans to expand through grade 8.

“I believe having a union at Lefferts Garden will ensure that our school can grow into a stable, exciting and caring community,” said 2nd-grade teacher Alison Greene.

Third-grade teacher Kamila Leroy also made the connection between unionization and maintaining a strong school community. “We need the union because our school’s needs continue to grow.”