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LABOR NEWS UPDATE: Brooklyn Friends School ‘Drops Effort To Disband’ Union Following Teachers' Strike

Published Sunday, October 11, 2020
by Caroline Lewis/
LABOR NEWS UPDATE: Brooklyn Friends School ‘Drops Effort To Disband’ Union Following Teachers' Strike

(NEW YORK CITY) - After striking Faculty and Staff caused the Brooklyn Friends School (BFS) to close for three days last week, the administration at the Quaker private school finally ceded to the BFS Union’s demands Wednesday evening (October 8th).

Students were back in school the following day, on Thursday.

Head of School Crissy Cáceres and the school’s Board of Trustees promised to withdraw the petition they had filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in August seeking to get the BFS Union disbanded on religious grounds. 

In turn, School Employees who are Unionized with United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2110 said they would call off their Strike.

“At the moment, all that matters is reopening our doors (virtual and physical) for our students,” Cáceres said in a statement on the decision. “They need school and the care that it offers.  They need closure and an opportunity for a renewed beginning.  We will continue working towards a Collective Bargaining Agreement contract with the UAW that will allow us to open the lines of communication with the purposes of providing better care for our colleagues.  That was always our aim and is consistent with our Quaker practices.”

When Cáceres and the school’s board filed the petition to decertify the Union in August, they argued that negotiating with a “third party” would go against the school’s Quaker values - a statement members of the school and broader Quaker community have spoken out against in recent months.

In the three days that Teachers and Staff rallied outside the school, they were joined by parents, students and other community members.

GoFundMe started by parents at the school to support the Strike Fund raised more than $58,000 - and some parents even said that if classes did continue during the Strike, they would keep their children from attending in solidarity.

“I think this ‘speaks to our solidarity and our strength and I’m just very happy they’ve done the right thing,’” Sarah Gordon, a Third Grade Teacher at the school and Member of the Union Negotiating Committee, told The Gothamist.

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