Teachers at Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School Organize to Join UFT

Educators seek more collaborative work environment and voice in school policy.Teachers and staff at the Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School in the South Bronx announced on March 12 their intention to join the UFT.

The entire teaching staff, along with other staff members at the school, have signed union authorization cards.

In a letter given to the school’s principal, the teachers’ organizing committee called for a more formal and collective voice in the school community to “ensure the quality of our students’ education.”

The UFT filed a formal petition today with the school’s board of trustees, and notified the state’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) that Bronx Academy of Promise teachers are seeking union recognition. If the school’s board does not recognize the union as the bargaining representative within 30 days, the UFT can ask PERB to certify the bargaining unit on the basis of the authorization cards.

“These teachers want the best for their students. They are dedicated to their school and creating the best learning environment that they possibly can. We are proud to welcome them into our union,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

“This is about job security, but it is also about making sure the school moves in the right direction,” said teacher Reagan Fletcher. “We are with our kids eight hours a day and deserve a voice in the policy decisions that affect them. Ultimately, this will benefit our children.”

“This will let us fulfill the mission of our school: to give the students the best possible school and the education they deserve,” said teacher Melissa Garcia.

The school, located at 1166 River Avenue in the Bronx, has been in operation since the fall of 2008, and currently serves approximately 240 students in kindergarten through 4th grade. The school employs 17 teachers, four teaching assistants, a social worker and several other staff members.

The UFT represents educators at ten other charter schools in New York City and co-operates a school in collaboration with Green Dot, a successful and labor-friendly charter school operator based in Los Angeles.

Additionally, in January, educators at the NYC Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries (AECI) in the Bronx voted overwhelmingly to unionize. On January 13, the AECI staff filed a formal petition with PERB seeking union recognition; a pre-hearing conference with both parties and PERB is scheduled for April 7th at PERB’s office in Downtown Brooklyn.