June 6, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
New Orleans, LA – Teachers and paraprofessionals at the International High School of New Orleans voted May 27 to join the United Teachers of New Orleans.
The 26-18 vote made International the third charter school in the city to unionize since the state took over most of the city’s schools after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and nullified the union’s contract with the Orleans Parish School Board. “It’s a great day for teachers in the city of New Orleans,” UTNO President Larry Carter said. The staff decided to join the union over opposition from the school’s principal and board chairman, who sent them an e-mail saying the vote would give them “an opportunity to let UTNO know it has no place” at the school. Winning a first contract won’t be easy, however. Teachers at have successfully negotiated a collective-bargaining agreement at only one New Orleans school since Katrina, and International’s lawyer argued before the vote that it was not subject to the National Labor Relations Board’s jurisdiction because it was a public school created by state law. The NLRB disagreed, holding that it was a private nonprofit employer that operates under an agreement with the state. Read more