Teaching Profession

Three Chicago Charters to Unionize

By Stephen Sawchuk — April 03, 2009 1 min read

Chalk one up for the American Federation of Teachers. Just as things have gotten a bit dicey in AFT’s bid to unionize charter schools in New York City, three Chicago charter schools—the Wrightwood, Northtown Academy and Ralph Ellison campuses of the Civitas Schools’ Chicago International Charter Schools—have served notice to state and district officials that they will unionize.

Three-quarters of the teaching staff at the campuses signed authorization cards to be represented by the Chicago Alliance of Charters Teachers and Staff, an affiliate of the Illinois chapter of the AFT. The state law allows this “card-check” method of organizing charter schools as opposed to secret-ballot elections.

The national charter school/unionization story is a really interesting one. It’s hard to know how involved AFT President Randi Weingarten was in this particular effort, but it’s probably fair to say she’s carefully watching how the Obama administration’s efforts to expand charter schooling will play out to determine how AFT can participate.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.