May 23, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
New Orleans, LA – With reporters barred from watching the ballots being counted, teachers at the Lusher Charter School in New Orleans on May 17 voted against being represented by a union.
United Teachers of Lusher organizers were surprised by the 77-54 vote against them, as 80 teachers had signed a petition urging management to recognize the union. “We were fairly certain we had a much higher count,” said high-school English teacher Larisa Gray. The school’s administration prohibited reporters or cameras from being inside the school building “as long as the vote is underway or as long as votes are being counted,” according to a statement by its public-relations firm. National Labor Relations Board policies say that ballot counts in unionization elections are open to the media, said New Orleans regional director Kathleen McKinney. Lusher school-board president Blaine LeCesne said it was “inappropriate” for the administration to bar reporters, saying it was an abuse of power “indicative of why a union is needed at the school.” The United Teachers of Lusher have not decided whether they will challenge the results. Read more