Hiawatha Academies, Great River School staff announce unionizing efforts

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. May 4, 2021 — Students are happier and have better educational outcomes when the adults working with them in school have their needs met too.      

That’s why educators and staff at Hiawatha Academies in Minneapolis and Great River School in St. Paul are unionizing and asking their respective boards to recognize those efforts. About 70 percent of staff at both charter schools signed cards of petition saying they want to unionize. Those cards were filed Monday with the National Labor Relations Board.  

“We are all incredibly proud and honored to be working with the amazing staff, families and students who really make our school run,” said Janiru Herath, a teacher at Hiawatha College Prep – Kingfield. “Through unionizing, we can have a seat at the table in which the decision-making process includes all voices.” 

Working together and creating a stable work environment for school staff will only mean better learning opportunities and an improved school climate for students, said Great River teacher Nadine McNiff. 

“Having that consistency in place can really help with maintaining working conditions that feel supportive to workers, so they can focus and really invest their energies in connecting with students,” McNiff said. 

Great River employees are asking their board to voluntarily recognize their union by Thursday, while Hiawatha has the same request and is asking for a response by May 12. If those requests are denied, educators will follow federal law and have a vote run by the NLRB.

Hear more about their unionizing efforts on this Facebook Live Q & A

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.

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