Denver Teacher Union Looks for Inroad to Charter School
Here’s a “symptom” to look out for, possibly fostered by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation-won-Janus decision, which gives all public sector employees the right to choose or refrain from union membership. Mike Antonucci notes that the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, has been hit with a decline in membership since Janus was handed down. Teacher union officials have officially rejected charter schools for many reasons, but now charter schools can appear to be a rich source of forced dues payors and members to fund radical agendas.
Private charter schools are regulated under the National Labor Relations Act, which still allows forced dues. As a consequence they may be easier to unionize, and their employees would not be included under the Foundation-won Janus protections.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association union officials made an official records request for then ames, salaries and email addresses of every charter school in Denver. Denver Public Schools office has capitulated and provided them the information. Melanie Asmer has the story on chalkbeat.org.
The request could signal that the union plans to try to get charter school teachers to join. Currently, only teachers at district-run schools belong to the Denver union. Given that more than a quarter of Denver’s 200 schools are charters, recruiting charter school teachers could significantly swell the union’s ranks and increase its political power.
Some charter leaders, though, see unions — and the teacher contracts they negotiate — as a threat to the flexibility they say makes charter schools successful.