Opportunity Charter School Teachers Join Union

Photo by Pat Arnow Photography

By Rob Callaghan

Teachers and staff at the Opportunity Charter School (OCS) announced on May 10th their intentions to join the UFT.

The vast majority of pedagogical staff signed union authorization cards indicating the need for a UFT chapter at the school.

In a letter given to Opportunity Charter School’s principal and Board, the teachers laid out their vision of a positive school culture that allows teachers and the principal to become collaborative partners to help realize the mission of the school and ensure the quality of the students’ education. In the letter, the teachers and staff explained their decision to join the UFT: “we, the teaching and professional staff, know what’s needed to support the students’ academic and personal goals. Our voices should be heard. Having a union at OCS will allow the entire staff to participate in creating the best academic environment for all.”

Along with the letter delivered by the teachers, the UFT notified the state’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) that OCS teachers are seeking union recognition and filed a formal petition today with Opportunity Charter School’s Board of Trustees. The school’s Board now has 30 days to voluntarily recognize their union or the UFT can ask the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to certify it on the basis of the cards.

“The teachers at Opportunity Charter School are committed to ensuring that their students receive the best possible education,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “By forming a union, these teachers have shown that they are committed to having a collective voice in creating a great learning environment for Opportunity’s students. We are proud to welcome them into the UFT.”

Teacher Nayomi Reghay echoed Mulgrew’s comments: “I believe everyone has a voice and every voice deserves to be heard. We need a union to ensure our right to speak up for what’s best for us and best for our students.”