Bay Area Charter School Teachers Join IWW Union
After two years of organizing, faculty from the charter school system Caliber Public Schools have unionized. The faculty joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) earlier this year and the school formally recognized IWW's union of teachers and staff in May. That makes Caliber Public Schools one of the first charter schools in the state to form a union and the only one in the U.S. to be organized with IWW, according to the Vallejo Sun.
Teachers who wanted to unionize cited a desire to improve working conditions at the school. A 2021 press release from IWW cited a number of issues, including:
- A lack of communication between faculty and management
- The board of directors' decision to partner with the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)
- High workloads and crowded classrooms
- Cuts to staff benefits
- Other criticisms surrounding working conditions
Caliber Public Schools serve 1,700 students at two TK-8 campuses in Richmond and Vallejo. They join 240 other unionized charter schools in California as of 2019, according to data from the National Alliance of Charter Schools.