Educators at Summit Academy Secondary Lorain Win Union Vote

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2021
Contact: Neil Bhaerman, nbhaerman@oft-aft.org, 412-266-4899

Educators at Summit Academy Secondary Lorain Win Union Vote

As Lorain teachers form the eighth charter school union in Ohio, teachers at Menlo Park Academy still await their election. 

LORAIN, OH – Educators at Summit Academy Secondary Lorain won their union election today after the official vote count was tallied by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). They are the third Summit Academy school, and the eighth charter school of any kind, to form a union with the Cleveland Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Cleveland ACTS), a local union that is affiliated with the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). 

“I am so excited about the results of the election. This is not just a victory for the teachers but also for the students at Summit Academy,” said Aaron Kodman, a Social Studies teacher at the school. “We now have the opportunity to make sure the learning environment for our students matches our school’s goals. We also have the ability to retain teachers and create continuity with staff. Our union will give a real voice to teachers that will improve our school for students, teachers, and the administration.”

“Cleveland ACTS is thrilled to welcome the teachers and staff at Summit Academy Secondary Lorain into our union,” said Sue Kraus, an intervention specialist at University of Cleveland Preparatory School, and president of the local union. “I have seen firsthand how things will change for the better with a union in place. My school was one of the first to unionize in Ohio, and with each negotiated contract we continue to see conditions improve. Every charter school that unionizes is a victory for all of us."

The election, administered by the NLRB, took place by mail ballot from December 15 to January 7. Educators at another area charter school – Menlo Park Academy in Cleveland – filed for a union election on November 12, but have not yet received an election date due to an aggressive anti-union campaign from management that includes a legal challenge to the NLRB’s jurisdiction regarding charter schools. 

“We’re forming a union because the learning environment in our school is chaotic and unsustainable. Teachers feel unsupported and lack basic necessities such as supplies and consistent curriculum,” said Beth Turk, an intervention specialist at Menlo Park Academy. “It’s encouraging to see the Summit Academy Lorain teachers win their union, and we know that we’ll be joining them soon, despite the wasteful and intimidating union busting from our school.”

“Charter schools work best when dedicated teachers and staff have a union voice that allows them to fight for the learning conditions their students need and the working conditions that will make educators want to return year after year,” said Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. 

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The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is composed of 54 local unions representing 20,000 members who are active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, and public employees. Cleveland Alliance for Charter Teachers and Staff (Cleveland ACTS), Local 6570, represents educators and staff at eight Cleveland area charter schools. OFT and Cleveland ACTS are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.