September 10, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – Charter schools should be treated as private corporations as far as workers’ rights to organize are concerned, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in two cases Aug. 24.
The board said that teachers trying to form unions at the Hyde Leadership Charter School in Brooklyn and the Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School in the Philadelphia suburb King of Prussia should be covered by the National Labor Relations Act, not the state labor laws that apply to public-school staff. While charter schools are part of the public-school system and receive public funds, the board said, they are run by private entities, not public officials accountable to voters, and therefore should be treated as private corporations with government contracts. “Hyde was not established by a state or local government, and is not itself a public school,” the majority opinion, signed by Democrats Kent Hirozawa and Lauren McFerran, said. The decisions cover only the two schools involved and do not set a national rule for unionization efforts at charter schools. Read more