May 2012 Issue
April 16, 2012

Despite anti-union push, NYSUT gains new members

Author: Matt Smith
Source: NYSUT United

Nearly 300 education-related workers across the state — from teaching assistants to cafeteria and clerical staff — have voted to unionize and affiliate with NYSUT.

The National Labor Relations Board held an on-site representation election at Westchester County's Leakes & Watts School. Two separate votes were held at the 853 school, which under NLRB rules, were taken by "professionals" (teachers) and "non-professionals" (teaching and administrative assistants).

The professionals voted against unionizing by a vote of 44 to 27. The 108-member "non-professionals" unit, however, voted 56 to 50 in favor of organizing.

The administration at Leakes & Watts ran a vicious anti-union campaign leading up to the votes. During one-to-one meetings with employees, for example, administrators told non-certified teachers they would lose their jobs if they voted to organize, claiming a union would insist on having only certified teachers in the bargaining unit.

Once the NLRB issues its formal certification of the "non-professional" unit, the new union will begin bargaining.

Meanwhile, 173 employees in the Webster Central School District near Rochester voted 161 to 25 to affiliate with NYSUT.

The unit — to be known as the Webster Central Schools Educational Support Association — is comprised of teaching assistants, registered nurses and cafeteria, health, school and teacher aides.

A former independent local, the WCSESA's decision to organize under NYSUT follows in the footsteps of the Webster Teachers' Association and the Webster Central School Association of Educational Office Professionals — both of whom have benefited from their affiliation with NYSUT.

NYSUT also was successful in organizing office staff in northern New York's Carthage Central school system. The 12-member Carthage District Office Personnel Association voted to affiliate with NYSUT.