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Coghill Charter School Teachers vote to negotiate a contract

(New Orleans – May 22, 2017) Educators at Mary D. Coghill Charter School will move to bargain a first contract with the school administration after decisively voting to join the United Teachers of New Orleans, an affiliate of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.

The teachers and staff voted 36-22 to join the union, in a vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. They will now negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with Coghill to improve resources for children and win voice and transparency at work.

The United Teachers of Coghill Charter School was founded to better educate, empower and motivate children at the school. Today’s victory comes after a long campaign to ensure the administration supports those values, which educators will now enshrine in a first contract.

Coghill is the fifth New Orleans charter school to formally unionize. UTNO already represents teachers and staff at Benjamin Franklin High School, Morris Jeff Community School and International High School of New Orleans, and paraprofessionals at Lusher Charter School.

Kristen R. Bowens, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher, said: “It’s a wonderful day for the teachers of Coghill. We formed the union to ensure that we are able to facilitate learning in an environment where the policies implemented are impartial and are beneficial to student progress. We fought to have job security, transparency and fairness. We look forward to bargaining a contract.”

United Teachers of New Orleans President Jim Randels said: “We look forward to supporting Coghill educators as they build a strong, healthy, robust partnership with Coghill’s school board and leadership to ensure the best possible education for Coghill students. We thank the Coghill board for its pledge to fully support the decision Coghill educators made in today’s NLRB election."

UTNO’s national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, now represents 231 charter schools in 15 states nationwide.

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