Marlborough, Mass., Charter School Teachers Join Teamsters

MARLBOROUGH, Mass.–Some 80 teachers and staffers at the math and science charter school in Marlborough, Mass., voted in July to unionize with Teamsters Local 170 in Worcester, the union announced.  They’re the Teamsters’ first charter school group in the U.S.

Teamsters organizer Paul Stuart said the teachers contacted the union because of lack of job security.  The school hires all of its teachers on 1-year contracts, and fires many of them.

He also said the school administration “fought tooth and nail” against the organizing drive.

“A lot of key people, award-winning teachers, were let go,” computer science/web design teacher Lino Alvarez told Local 170.  “That decision cannot be made in five minutes in a back room so someone else can get the job.  We need a process so that everyone can feel more protected.”  Added 6-year teacher Jessica Bowen: “I see how vulnerable workers can be without unions.  I’m a history teacher, so I studied the labor movement, but in an academic sense.  To see how it works firsthand is eye-opening.  The Teamsters were positive and every time we asked questions, we got answers.  It felt like we now have support we needed.”