In Press Release

March 31, 2014

Union Teachers at Detroit’s Largest Charter School Win Unprecedented Settlement While Hundreds of Students, Parents, and Teachers Watch Film About César Chávez

DETROIT – On César Chávez’s Birthday March 31, teachers at César Chávez Academy (CCA), Detroit’s largest charter school won an impressive settlement that will return educators to the school and provide over $75,000 in back pay. Representatives from the teachers union, The César Chávez Academy Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff (CCA ACTS), reached a late deal on Monday evening with The Leona Group—the for-profit company that manages the day-to-day operations of the charter school.

“This win could not have come on a better day,” exclaimed Rose Crowley, a Reading Specialist at CCA High School. “It’s incredible that we were able to celebrate this victory on Cesar Chavez’s birthday, and I’m elated that we were able to share this moment with hundreds of our school’s amazing students and parents.”

CCA teachers were joined by over 600 parents, students, alumni, teachers, union leaders, public officials, and community representatives at a screening of the new Diego Luna film, “Cesar Chavez” sponsored by AFT Michigan and CCA ACTS. The film documents Chavez’s struggle to unionize immigrant farm workers in California. Currently, CCA ACTS is negotiating a first contract with the CCA Board of Directors and The Leona Group. Throughout the organizing campaign and contract negotiations, teachers at CCA have drawn inspiration from Chavez’s work and his legacy as a union organizer.

Lynne Santoscoy, a social worker from the CCA Middle school will be returning to work as soon as the settlement is finalized by the National Labor Relations Board. “I’m so excited to get back to CCA and work with our wonderful students and families. I have been so supported by my colleagues and the community over these past six months. What was done wrong has been made right and we will continue to work with The Leona Group to reach a fair first contract that will make our school community an even better place to work and learn.”

At the close of the movie, hundreds gathered in the lobby to hear the announcement of Santoscoy’s reinstatement, chanting “si se puede!” in the spirit of Cesar Chavez as they surrounded her in celebration.

“This is a fitting tribute to Cesar Chavez on his birthday,” said David Hecker, AFT Michigan President. “Charter school teachers are a growing part of AFT Michigan and they can accomplish amazing things when they join together with parents and community to reclaim the promise of public education.”

For additional information regarding the history of CCA ACTS visit this link:

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