To: Rahm Emanuel, Mayor, Tim King, CEO, Urban Prep Academies, John Horan, President, North Lawndale College Prep, and Chris Kelly, COO, North Lawndale College Prep

Mayor Emanuel: Support workers who want a union at their school

Teachers and staff at three Urban Prep charters schools and two North Lawndale College Prep charter schools announced that they seek to organize a union. Will you call on executives at these schools, and all charter schools, to commit to a fair process that ensures the right of educators to organize free from fear?

Why is this important?

Mayor Emanuel, seeking the endorsement of Chicago labor unions, told them that he supported the unionization of hundreds of educators at charter schools in 2013.

Today, more than one hundred courageous educators at the Urban Prep and North Lawndale College Prep charter school networks are standing up to be heard, to advocate for the needs of their schools and their students, and to be treated fairly. They seek to join Chicago ACTS Local 4343, which already represents 800 members working at 29 schools covered by union contracts.

Along with Chicago ACTS Local 4343, these educators are calling for commitments from their schools’ executives not to interfere with the staff’s right to organize, and to accept the decision of the majority of over 200 teachers and staff at these schools. And we are asking Mayor Emanuel to stand with us.

These educators are dedicated to the mission of their schools and seek to build a climate of mutual respect and cooperation in order to better serve and support their students’ growth. In order to reduce staff turnover and provide students with greater consistency, they seek to ensure fair and equal treatment of all employees.

These educators risked retribution for organizing. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees for participating in union organizing. However, charter school managers have campaigned to discourage their staff members from unionizing.

The leaders of this effort call on their schools’ executives to demonstrate their respect and trust in their employees by pledging not to interfere with their right to organize, and by accepting the decision of the majority of teachers and staff.

Along with ChiACTS, they also call on public officials who oversee Chicago’s schools, starting with the Mayor, to endorse the same respect and fairness for any and all educators who seek to unionize in charter schools.

We are asking Mayor Emanuel to call on the executives of these and all charter schools to commit to a fair process that ensures the right of educators to organize free from fear. Please join us.

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