Educators at Centerpoint School-NFI Vermont vote to unionize

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Educators at Centerpoint School-NFI Vermont vote to unionize

Fri, 05/13/2022 - 4:36pm -- tim

 

The vote is the latest in a wave of unionization drives nationwide

Vermont Business Magazine Employees of Centerpoint School-Northeastern Family Institute Vermont today voted 14-0 to unionize, the latest organizing victory in a wave of unionization efforts in Vermont and throughout the country.

“We are encouraged that as a union, we can be even better educators for our students,” said Mark Ferrara, a Counseling Teacher at Centerpoint with more than a decade of teaching experience and who is a leader in the unionization effort. “We’ve seen that teaching and learning conditions improve when educators unionize. We look forward to working collaboratively with Centerpoint management as we bargain our first-ever union contract.”

The new union – the Centerpoint Education Association – will become part of the 13,000-member Vermont-NEA as well as the 3-million-member National Education Association. The union election victory comes amid a wave of unionization efforts at Starbucks Coffee, Amazon, and other retailers. Closer to home, staff at the Community Health Centers of Burlington recently won a union, and bus drivers for the South Burlington School District voted to unionize several months ago.

“We love what we do,” Ferrara said. “Being able to advocate for our working and teaching conditions will be good for us, good for our school, and good for our students.”

Centerpoint School-Northeastern Family Institute Vermont is a therapeutic school that serves about 50 of Vermont’s highest-need students. The educational requirements of the school’s students are intense and demand student-specific individualized instruction. Unlike traditional educators, Centerpoint’s faculty and staff do not have winter, spring, or summer vacations. Centerpoint’s educators are paid significantly lower salaries than their counterparts at the region’s public schools.

Today’s election came a little over a month after more than 90 percent of Centerpoint’s workforce signed a petition seeking to unionize. The election was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.

5.13.2022. WINOOSKI – Vermont-NEA