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UFT accuses KIPP Academy of violating federal law
Union files charges with National Labor Relations Board against KIPP management
January 19, 2017
The United Federation of Teachers has accused the leadership of KIPP Academy Charter School in the Bronx of violating federal labor law by actively encouraging employees to decertify the UFT as their collective bargaining representative.
The union charged in a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board that several teachers were in danger of losing their jobs if they failed to sign a decertification petition, while KIPP Academy management also attempted to get members to sign such a petition at a mandatory staff meeting.
Federal law prohibits employers from interfering with employees’ right to organize and take part in union activities, including discouraging membership in any labor organization.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, “Charter school employees, like other workers, have a right under federal law to organize and bargain collectively, rights that charter schools must respect.”
See the NLRB complaint below, along with applicable federal law:
Statement of Facts
- The United Federation of Teachers, Local 2, AFT, AFL-CIO (“UFT”) is a voluntary and unincorporated labor organization.
- KIPP Academy Charter School (“KIPP Academy”) is a conversion charter school, located in Bronx, New York, which provides educational services to, among others, students in grades Kindergarten through 8.
- KIPP Academy is an “employer” as defined by Section 2 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), and as such, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has jurisdiction over this matter.
- The UFT is the collective bargaining representative of certain employees employed by KIPP Academy including secretaries, guidance counselors, social workers and teachers.
- Representatives of KIPP Academy are currently involved in the initiation of a petition seeking to decertify the UFT as the collective bargaining representative of all teachers at KIPP Academy.
- Specifically, on or about Jan. 6, 2016, KIPP Academy Dean Kesete Thompkins (who served as interim acting principal during the beginning of the 2016–17 school year) informed several teachers at KIPP Academy that employees who did not sign a decertification petition and instead “went full union” would be in danger of losing their job.
- On or about Jan. 11, 2017, KIPP Academy required UFT-represented employees of KIPP Academy to attend a meeting during work hours.
- The Jan. 11, 2017 meeting was led by Nakia James-Jenkins, the Human Resource Manager for KIPP Academy’s management company, KIPP NYC. Also present at the Jan. 11, 2017 meeting was Tyritia Groves, principal of the elementary grades at KIPP Academy.
- During the Jan. 11, 2017 meeting, Ms. James-Jenkins encouraged UFT represented employees to sign a decertification petition seeking to decertify the UFT as the collective bargaining representative of employees at KIPP Academy.
- In addition, during the Jan. 11, 2017 meeting, Ms. James-Jenkins read directly from the decertification petition, provided copies of the decertification petition to the employees who attended the meeting, and told the UFT represented employees who were present at the meeting that she hoped [the decertification petition] could be filed on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017.
- Ms. James-Jenkins also informed those present at the Jan. 11, 2017 meeting that the employees could sign an individual copy of the decertification petition and directed employees to provide the signed decertification petition to one of two individuals employed by KIPP Academy, Emily Collado, a social worker, and Kelli Williams, a teacher.
- KIPP Academy violated the NLRA by informing employees that they would be terminated if they did not sign a decertification petition seeking to decertify the UFT as the collective bargaining representative of certain employees at KIPP Academy.
- KIPP Academy violated the NLRA by encouraging employees to sign a decertification petition seeking to decertify the UFT as the collective bargaining representative of certain employees at KIPP Academy to UFT.
- KIPP Academy violated the NLRA by providing a decertification petition seeking to decertify the UFT as the collective bargaining representative of certain employees at KIPP Academy members during a mandatory staff meeting.
- KIPP Academy violated the NLRA by instructing UFT represented members during a mandatory staff meeting on how and when to file a decertification petition seeking to decertify the UFT as the collective bargaining representative of certain employees at KIPP Academy.
National Labor Relations Act (excerpt)
Sec. 8. [§ 158.] (a) [Unfair labor practices by employer] It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer —
(1) to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7 [section 157 of this title];
(2) to dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it: Provided, That subject to rules and regulations made and published by the Board pursuant to section 6 [section 156 of this title], an employer shall not be prohibited from permitting employees to confer with him during working hours without loss of time or pay;
(3) by discrimination in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization:
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