FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2016
Nate Walker, K12 Organizer and Policy Analyst, 313/ 539 7106, firstname.lastname@example.org
Asil Yassine, former Universal Academy Teachers, 972/965 9303
Phil Leslie, former Universal Academy Teacher, 517/316 6852
Charter School Management Company Agrees to Pay More Than $100k to Wrongfully Terminated Teachers
Dearborn, MI – Hamedeh Education Services (HES) has reached an agreement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Michigan ACTS), a union of teachers in charter schools. The agreement settled a federal complaint against the for-profit management company. Forgoing a hearing in front of an administrative law judge on September 28, 2016, HES has instead agreed to offer the wrongfully terminated employees reinstatement, back pay, and additional compensation.
HES will be paying a total of $106,165.93 to eight former teachers of Universal Academy, a charter school authorized by Oakland University. In August, after months of investigation, the NLRB charged HES with coercively interrogating and unlawfully terminating these teachers.
“Last year, my colleagues and I came together as a staff and used our voices to try to improve learning conditions for our students,” said Phil Leslie, one of the teachers who was terminated, “Instead of working with us, HES chose to simply terminate us. Although the settlement is over, I’m still broken up about the irreparable harm all of this had on our students last year. It’s also disappointing to see that we had to get the federal government involved before HES would react with any accountability. I expect more from a company that uses public money to run a public school.”
“Hopefully HES will improve its practices and follow the law moving forward,” add Asil Yassine, a former teacher. “While I decided not to return to Universal Academy this fall, I still am hearing from families and former students about on-going problems at the school. Most recently students from last year’s graduating class have informed me that HES was withholding their diplomas pending the payment of unreasonable fees, ultimately this was resolved but, I am outraged that HES continues to hurt students and operate as if they are above the law.”
Yassine and her colleagues received support from Michigan ACTS , a union affiliated with AFT Michigan, in filing their complaint with the NLRB. “Michigan ACTS is committed to standing with all teachers in charter schools. As a teacher in a charter school myself, it is extremely troubling to learn about for-profit management companies like HES that try to skirt accountability,” said Brandon Moss, President of Michigan ACTS. “They cast a bad image of charter schools for those of us who are actually committed to providing a quality public education for our students.”