Mixed Results from NLRB Charter School Union Decision

You may have some vague recollection of the legal battle over the unionization of teachers at the Chicago Math and Science Academy charter school. The charter school arm of the Illinois Federation of Teachers got more than 60% of the employees to sign union cards and petitioned for recognition as the exclusive bargaining representative. Illinois has a card check law for public employees. But CMSA management is not, strictly speaking, a government employer. The CMSA board claimed the school was thus subject to the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board and sought an election.

In other circumstances the union might be glad to find itself in this position, but with a card check law in place, IFT didn’t want an election. The NLRB issued a decision that it does have jurisdiction over CMSA, and so an election will be held. While this was a setback for the union and overturned a ruling by a regional NLRB director, it could work against non-union charter schools in places where there is no card check law.