FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Los Angeles - The National Labor Relations Board has ruled this month for CTA members against an attempt to privatize Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a charter school operated by Roger Lowenstein and overseen by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Lowenstein had contended that the Los Angeles Leadership Academy is a private employer subject to the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act.
Representing teachers in the newly formed union at the charter school, CTA attorneys challenged Lowenstein, asserting that under the California Charter School Act charter schools are public employers and the teachers are public employees who fall under the jurisdiction of the State's Educational Employees Relations Act, not the NLRA.
NLRB ruled in favor of the teachers at the school and the new union, affirming CTA's position, and that of Public Employment Relations Board, that the teachers of the Los Angeles Leadership Academy Community United, CTA/NEA are public employees working at a public school.
"This case is really more about Mr. Lowenstein's attempt to stifle an attempt by teachers to organize a local teachers association," said CTA Charter Schools Organizer Joe Boyd. "The law is clear on the matter, but he is hoping to slow the process down with bureaucracy and appeals." Indeed, although Lowenstein is appealing the decision, the Public Employees Relations Board has since told him that he must recognize the newly formed teachers union.
Teachers are protesting Lowenstein's continued pursuit of the matter. Staff members are wearing black T-Shirts that say "Got justice?" on the front and "UNION NOW" on the reverse. They have also started to inform parents of their concerns. "Our school has a number of problems and it is time for Mr. Lowenstein to focus on our school, our kids, and our teachers," says middle-school teacher Karin Kroener, a member of the new union. Kroener continues, "We have formed a public school teachers union under the law. Lowenstein's continued efforts to privatize the school will only threaten the school's future as we will be out of compliance with our charter."
Teachers assert that in addition to challenging their right to form a public employee union, Lowenstein is also violating the school's charter by proposing cuts to health benefits and not maintaining salary schedules that keep pace with LAUSD. Says Kroener, "If we are going to save the Academy, it will only be because teachers have organized to challenge the decision making structure and poor administrative decisions at the school. This could be a great school, but we need to make changes."