FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2022
Educators at Menlo Park Academy Win Union Vote
Teachers, Staff at Menlo, Undeterred by Anti-union Campaign, Are Ninth School To Join Union
CLEVELAND, OH — Educators at Menlo Park Academy, a charter school in Cleveland that serves gifted students, won their union election today after the official vote count was tallied by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). They are the ninth charter school 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).
"By uniting as one cohesive staff and forming a union, we can start bargaining a contract that ensures we continue to provide a quality, innovative, robust education for our gifted students,” said Allison Noga, an English Language Arts teacher for grades six and seven at Menlo. “As a teacher and parent of a Menlo student, I want Menlo to be the very best place it can be. That happens when staff have a voice."
The union vote took place following a months-long legal challenge to the NLRB's jurisdiction over Ohio charter schools, during which the school's administration disseminated numerous anti-union communications.
“Despite the steady stream of anti-union propaganda, educators at Menlo Park Academy came together because they knew, from years of experience, that without a union voice they were unable to improve their working conditions and their students’ learning conditions,” said Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
“I am thrilled we have finally won our union. I’m ready to get a contract that will allow students to embrace and receive the education in Music, Art, Foreign Languages, STEAM, and Physical Education that they deserve,” said Shannon Jakubczak, a Music teacher at Menlo Park Academy. “Teachers having a voice, being respected as the professionals we are, and working in a positive environment—it’s what we all want and deserve."
"I'm proud of the perseverance of the dedicated educators who insisted on organizing a union and I'm proud to stand with them,” said State Representative Jeff Crossman, who has previously sponsored charter school accountability legislation. “By banding together, they now have a real opportunity to realize what they have been advocating for all along---an opportunity to collaborate with administrators on the best way to enhance the educational opportunities for their students. I once again reiterate my request to the Board--work with these educators, not against them, and together you can build a better learning environment for the children of Menlo Park."
“Cleveland ACTS is thrilled to welcome the teachers and staff at Menlo Park Academy 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 organize in Ohio, and with each negotiated contract we continue to see conditions improve. I know that Menlo teachers and staff will use their union voice to make improvements for themselves and their students."
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.