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4BFS Colleagues

Correspondence from BFS Administration, BFS Colleagues, and former Clerks

Letters of support and concern
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From: Crissy Cáceres bfsenews@brooklynfriends.org
Subject: BFS: Important Message from Head of School and Board of Trustees
Date: 14 August 2020 at 7:17 pm

Dear Families:

During this tumultuous time in our world, the Quaker values that our school has embraced for 153 years have been brought sharply into focus, causing us to reflect on our future. After much self-examination, I am writing today to tell you about an effort we are undertaking in an attempt to change a dynamic within our organization that has presented a number of challenges. We have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to clarify whether BFS colleagues continue to qualify for union representation.

BFS has always prioritized the Quaker values upon which our school was founded, including providing a safe and open space for everyone to have a voice and encouraging the free exchange of ideas among all our community members—including students, alumni, families, and colleagues—and working together intentionally, with active listening, respect for others, openness to diversity of perspectives, and compassion. Due to the presence of the union, however, school leadership is legally prohibited from engaging directly with individual colleagues about certain matters that affect colleague working conditions. The pandemic and the challenges it has created for managing our resources and school operations have further brought into clarity how this arrangement severely limits our ability to collaborate closely with colleagues as individuals whose concerns and needs we want to address as personally and thoughtfully as we can.

Working through a third party to communicate with our colleagues hinders us in hearing directly from colleagues their views and concerns about issues that affect their working conditions and professional experiences. Unity is our approach to being in community. We respect that our truths and divergent opinions are all part of one greater spirit that we can only access through direct and open communication of these individual truths. If we are to fully practice our Quaker values of respecting others and celebrating every individual’s inner light while compassionately responding to existing needs, we must be legally free to do so.

A recent change in the law allows us to pursue an approach that we hope will provide us greater latitude to act in accordance with our religious beliefs. In order to put our Quaker values back at the center of our relationship with our colleagues, the Board of Trustees and I have made the difficult decision to file a petition with the NLRB to clarify the validity of Local 2110’s representation of our BFS colleagues.

Regardless of how this legal matter proceeds, we remain committed to our Quaker values, and to continuing to work together intentionally, with active listening, respecting others, being open to diversity of perspectives, showing compassion, and providing a safe and open space for everyone’s voice to be heard.

Crissy Cáceres and the Board of Trustees

Brooklyn Friends School
375 Pearl Street, Brooklyn NY 11201
Phone: (718) 852-1029
Fax: (718) 643-4868
Web: brooklynfriends.org

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