Equity & Diversity A National Roundup

Teachers at Mich. Charter Vote to Quit Their Union

By Bess Keller — March 06, 2007 1 min read

Teachers at an American Indian charter school in Michigan have severed their ties to the National Education Association and its state affiliate. (“Mich. Charter Awaits Vote on Union,” Feb. 14, 2007.)

The 19-13 vote late last month to “decertify” the local union, established in October 2005 at the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting Anishnabe School, came after leaders of the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa tribe threatened to effectively cut the school’s funding in half. The school in Sault Ste. Marie is run both as a U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs institution and a charter entity under Michigan law.

Leaders of the tribe, which owns the school building, said they would drop the K-8 school’s charter status rather than allow teachers to unionize. Without a charter agreement, the school would no longer be eligible for state funding.

Tribal Chairman Aaron Payment said in a statement that he was pleased by the result, and he pledged that the tribe would work with the school on providing “long-term” employment agreements for teachers and strengthening their due-process rights. Both issues had been raised by union advocates.

A version of this article appeared in the March 07, 2007 edition of Education Week

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