Teachers at Philly charter unionize

After a significant two-year battle, teachers at the New Media Technology Charter School in West Oak Lane have voted to unionize, the Pennsylvania American Federation of Teachers said Tuesday.

The vote was 26 to 3, and is significant because of how it occurred.  New Media's teachers had asked to be recognized under public labor law, but the school contended that New Media was a private entity - even though it receives more than $5 million in public money. 

The New Media vote was the first in the state to be held according to private labor law.  It was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.

“We are proud of the teachers of New Media Technology Charter School for standing together to win their full voice as professionals,” AFT Pennsylvania President Ted Kirsch said. “For charter schools to achieve their mission of innovation and excellence, they must treat their teachers and staff members as full partners.  This victory for the staff of New Media is a victory for not only them, but also for the students they serve.”

Twenty-nine teachers and counselors at the school will join the Alliance of Charter School employees, which also represents workers at four other city charters: West Oak Lane Charter School, Wakisha Charter School, Khepera Charter, and Delaware Valley Charter School.