There's another first in Chicago's decade-plus history of charter schools: a teachers' union.
After a year of meetings, teachers at three campuses of Civatas Schools' Chicago International Charter Schools filed notice Friday with state and local officials that they had voted to form a union.
The teachers at three campuses of the Civatas Schools' Chicago International Charter Schools have been meeting for nearly a year to consider forming a union and recently the majority of teachers voted to support the move.
While the charter school has 12 campuses in Chicago, the vote only affects teachers at three locations: Wrightwood, 8130 S. California Ave.; Northtown Academy, 3900 W. Peterson Ave.; and Ralph Ellison, 1817 W. 80th St. The three campuses have about 115 teachers, the majority of whom voted to join, officials said.
Emily Mueller, a high school Spanish teacher at Northtown Academy, said she was one of the first teachers to begin working to form a union in the living room of one of the teachers nearly a year ago.
Mueller said that among the main reasons teachers wanted union representation was for job security. Currently, teachers at most charter schools are given yearly contracts that must be renewed spring. Similarly, pay raises for the following year are often determined on a case by case basis at the school, Mueller said.
She said that teachers wanted more of a say in the number of classes they teach as well as better benefits.
"We have felt that we needed more of a voice with decisions being made at our school, some teachers felt they wanted more job security," Mueller said. "The administration has an obligation to sit down with us and bargain collectively."
Officials said that three-quarters of the teaching staff signed documents to be the first unit represented by the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, an affiliate of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers. . . .
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Chicago Charter School Teachers Vote to Join Union