FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 1, 2019
Contact: Neil Bhaerman, Communications Director for Ohio Federation of Teachers
Summit Academy Parma Teachers Ratify First Contract
Contract ensures a voice at work and establishes staffing guidelines and Labor-Management Committee.
Parma, OH — Teachers and intervention specialists at Summit Academy in Parma voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first union contract today, following a nine day strike. The contract includes gains for student learning conditions, including language on class size and staffing. Union members will have a strengthened voice through a Labor-Management Committee and a binding grievance and arbitration process. The contract does not include any economic gains for teachers, but there will be an economic re-opener in the fall after the school’s enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year is set.
“Our collective action on the picket line paid off. We were able to win contract language on staffing expectations and ongoing updates on filling our open staff positions,” said Kelly Granda, an art teacher at the school. “This contract is a step in the right direction in holding Summit Academy Management accountable. And we know we’ll be able to take even bigger steps forward when our colleagues at Summit Academy in Painesville join us at the bargaining table for our next contract.”
Earlier this week, teachers, intervention specialists, and instructional aides at Summit Academy in Painesville filed a petition for union recognition. They are organizing to join the Cleveland Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Cleveland ACTS) local union along with the members in Parma. They would be the seventh charter school to join Cleveland ACTS, and the second of Summit Academy’s 24 Ohio schools to join the union.
The strike was the first charter school strike in Ohio, and the fourth nationwide, following one in Los Angeles and two in Chicago.
“The faculty at Summit Academy Parma built their union and went on strike because they knew that their students weren’t getting what they needed for a quality education, and they had no voice or power to advocate for their students,” said Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. “While this first contract isn’t perfect, it sets higher standards for class size and staffing and gives teachers tools, like grievances and a Labor-Management Committee, they can use to keep making improvements.”
“I’m proud of the teachers and intervention specialists at Summit Academy for taking a stand to win the resources that their students need, and I’m glad they were able to reach an agreement with management to re-open the school,” said State Representative Jeff Crossman (D-Parma). “While the strike is over, I know these teachers will continue advocating for their students and I look forward to amplifying their stories as we work in the statehouse for better funded schools.”
The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is comprised of more than 50 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. OFT works to advance quality education and a voice in the workplace for Ohio’s education professionals.
Cleveland Alliance for Charter Teachers and Staff (Cleveland ACTS) is a local union affiliated with OFT, representing teachers and staff at six Cleveland area charter schools. Cleveland ACTS is the only union of charter school teachers in Ohio. Cleveland ACTS and OFT are affiliated with the 1.7 member American Federation of Teachers.