June 6, 2009
Cynthia Leonor Garza
Statement by Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Civitas Public Charter School Teachers and Staff Unionizing in Chicago
On June 18, teachers and staff at three Civitas charter schools voted to unionize. This is the first group of charter school employees to form a union in Chicago and the first schools organized by the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff (Chicago ACTS), an affiliate of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers.
WASHINGTON–The AFT applauds the commitment and determination of these public charter school educators who chose, through their vote, to be full partners in creating an environment in which they and their students can do their very best.
Treating teachers with respect and giving them a voice in the workplace are crucial to recruiting and retaining great educators and to helping students excel. The teachers and staff of these schools believe, as do we, that working collaboratively with Civitas administrators to negotiate a contract will result in an agreement that is good for students, fair to teachers and that fosters and supports the spirit of innovation that should be the goal of all public charter schools.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.