Cesar Chavez Academy Teachers and Staff Vote Overwhelmingly to Affiliate with AFT Michigan
DETROIT, MI – The teachers, counselors and social workers at Cesar Chavez Academy (CCA), the largest charter school district in Detroit, voted overwhelmingly today to form a union. This vote certified the Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff (Michigan ACTS), an affiliate of AFT Michigan, as the official bargaining agent for teachers and staff at the Academy.
Teachers and staff voted for union representation 88-39, a more than 2:1 margin. Cesar Chavez Academy, which is operated by The Leona Group, LLC, is the second largest charter school in Michigan and educates students on four campuses. The Leona Group is one the nation’s largest for-profit educational management companies.
“I’ve worked at Cesar Chavez Academy for over a decade and am excited to begin the bargaining process. As a social worker, it is my responsibility to advocate for and support students and families at CCA. Today we have secured a meaningful voice for our staff to participate in making this the best possible district for our students,” said Flordemaria Garay, who works at the Academy’s middle school.
“Our union is built on the belief that meaningful conversation between partners is a pathway to ensuring a quality educational environment,” added Toni Carlbom, a special education teacher. “This is an opportunity to address issues that have led some of our strongest staff to leave for other districts.”
This election, just weeks after Governor Snyder signed “right to work” legislation during the lame duck session, shows that charter school teachers value union representation. “We welcome teachers and staff at Cesar Chavez Academy into our union. It is clear that educators, whether they work in charter schools or traditional public schools, recognize the importance of collective bargaining and union membership as an avenue to improve learning and working conditions,” said AFT Michigan President David Hecker.