October 1, 2020
Dear Crissy and Members of The Board of Trustees:
We chose BFS for our daughter June because at prospective parent meetings there was a clearly stated focus on community and progressive values. We were hopeful that, at BFS, we would find an enlightened place of refuge from those anti-democratic forces of greed, intolerance and authoritarianism that are too present in our country today. Unfortunately the institution that was described to us as prospective parents is not the school we see today.
Eighty percent of teachers and staff have cast ballots in favor of forming a Union. I have been a Union Organizer for 15 years, I know that each “yes” vote was made after much thought and consideration.
Now, instead of working toward a contract, a route that does require tolerance, skill, and leadership, BFS has chosen to take the easy way out. BFS has asked a regressive Trump Labor Board to silence the voices of the vast majority of teachers and staff that voted for their Union.
You might try to present the anti-democratic actions taken by BFS as only seeking clarity from the NLRB. We know that the actions undertaken by BFS can only be viewed as an existential threat to the Union the teachers and staff worked hard to build and win. A Union that we know had hoped would be able to sit with BFS leadership and work collaboratively to ensure that buildings opened safely, working conditions were improved and basic job protections were in place.
Where does this leave teachers and staff? From what we see, teachers and staff have been backed into a corner by a top-down approach that devalues their voice and now there is no choice but to raise those voices and vote to strike. If not for the union-busting actions by BFS, this would be entirely avoidable.
We are still hopeful that a strike can be avoided but if it does occur we will support our teachers and staff that have made the incredibly difficult decision to walk off their jobs.
The good news is this—a credible and thoughtful path forward has been proposed by three former Clerks of the Board of Trustees. Their proposals have been embraced by the Union and we urge you to do the same.
In closing we are already seeing the warm and caring environment that Niamh, Anya, and Sofia are giving June and the other students in the Orange room. June is delighted to be back in a learning environment. We hope that you will work to ensure lasting labor peace at BFS so that June’s love of her new school can continue without disruption.
Jerusha Klemperer and Michael Cassaday