UNO Allows Teachers to Form Union

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationThe Chicago Alliance of Charter School Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS) and the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) announced an agreement that guarantees educators and staff at UNO schools the free choice to form a union. With 13 schools in Chicago, the agreement guarantees more than 300 educators the right to choose to unionize without fear of retaliation.

“With this agreement, UNO teachers have the freedom to join with hundreds of other charter school teachers across Chicago who are using their collective voice to speak out for their profession and their students,” said Chicago ACTS President Brian Harris. “Almost four years ago, my co-workers and I formed the first charter school teachers union in Chicago. We are united in the relentless pursuit of quality for our schools and we are encouraged that UNO teachers now have the freedom to join with us to advocate on behalf of teachers, our students, and our schools.”

Chicago ACTS currently represents more than 350 teachers at charter schools across the city and more than 5,000 children attend UNO schools in Chicago. Chicago ACTS is an affiliate of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and of the 1.5 million-member AFT, which represents charter school teachers across the U.S.

“I became a teacher because I believe in the power of education to transform lives and improve communities,” said Jessica Hanzlik, a teacher at UNO Soccer Academy and a Teach for America corps member. “I teach math, science, and social studies to 64 eighth-graders. Parents entrust their children to me every day with full faith and hope that I can grow their minds and unlock their potential. Teachers understand best what works in the classroom, how our students learn, and what tools and resources our schools and our children need. Having the freedom to form a union with other UNO teachers means we’ll be able to advocate more strongly for our students and we will have a greater ability to speak out for what we know works to improve teaching and learning.”

In a statement released by UNO, they had this to say about the agreement:

UNO’s central mission has always been to empower communities and make positive change in our communities and our society. UNO has long-held strong relationships with unions and we believe that the labor movement is an essential partner in the fight for social justice and economic equality. This agreement is consistent with our founding values.

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