BOSTON — Teachers and staff working at City on a Hill New Bedford, a charter school, have organized to join the Boston Teachers Union (BTU), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.

“We are thrilled to join our sister schools in Boston as we celebrate this win for staff, students, and parents in the CoaH community. Today, we made one large step toward education equality. Today, we celebrate together as a family. Tomorrow we make change together as a union,” said Amanda Miller, an English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher and English Language Learner (ELL) Case Manager at CoaH New Bedford.

“We overcame a lot to achieve this victory for workers, students, and parents,” said Katie Vaudrain, a Learning Network History Teacher at CoaH New Bedford. “Despite the school’s openly anti-union stance, we are looking forward to a productive collaboration. We’re very proud to join our colleagues in Roxbury who previously joined the union for the same reasons we did including to have a voice at work and more input from teachers and staff in decision making.”

“I am a teacher, but I am also a parent,” said Marco Pedulli, an ESL/Science Teacher at CoaH New Bedford. “We are confident that by forming our union, we can help ensure management does what’s best for students moving forward. We’re excited to begin negotiating a contract that will improve teacher retention for the benefit of students, parents, and the community.”

The successful New Bedford organizing comes on the heels of workers at the two other schools operated by City on a Hill, both in Roxbury, announcing they had joined the BTU earlier this year on February 14, 2018. Teachers and staff from all three CoaH schools – CoaH Circuit Street, CoaH Dudley, and CoaH New Bedford – all cited common goals in choosing to organize:

--Opportunities for teacher leadership
--Improved teacher retention
--More input from teachers and staff in decision-making
--Increased budget transparency
--Equitable pay

“All educators deserve the support of an organization that will support them and the work they do. We are proud to welcome the teachers and staff from City on a Hill New Bedford into our union,” said Boston Teacher Union President Jessica Tang. “Our priority is creating exceptional and successful learning experiences for all students. That means improving the working conditions of all educators, including those working at charter schools funded by public taxpayer dollars, to reduce turnover and sustain stable learning environments for students. It means advocating for full investment in public education and ensuring that all schools, including charter schools, stay true to the interests of the public good. A common bond among all teachers, whether we work in district or charter schools, is that we all want to see our students thrive.”

Civil rights leader Mel King had sent the workers a special message supporting their organizing efforts. It read: "We sing Lift Every Voice so we are inclusive in getting all participants views. I think in education it must include the teachers voices. To that extent, I would encourage teachers at charter schools to join the teachers union. They are working in the highest way to support and work for the best interests of the students."

All three CoaH schools are considered “Commonwealth” charter schools whose charters are granted by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The schools are not operated by the Boston Public School system or the New Bedford Public School system. The Boston Teachers Union, with more than 10,000 members including teachers, paraprofessionals, guidance counselors, social workers, school psychologists, and nurses, advocates for the interests of students, parents, and education staff, including those employed by in-district charter schools.

Workers at the CoaH New Bedford school who joined the union include teachers, paraprofessionals, office staff, facilities staff, and more.

--Boston Teachers Union