Staffers at the Brooklyn Friends School — where tuition runs a minimum of $45,400 — voted in May 2019 to unionize with UAW 2110, which also represents workers at Columbia University, NYU, and Museum of Modern Art. The vote, intended to offer a voice to all faculty members, happened months after the hiring of Crissy Caceres as the new Head of School. The school was established 153 years ago and continues to espouse Quaker beliefs of social equity.
Caceres has since launched a campaign to decertify union representation at the school, petitioning her request to the Trump-backed National Labor Relations Board, exploiting the reversal of an Obama-era ruling that allowed religious schools such as BFS to unionize.
In an email sent to teachers and shared with parents, Caceres argued that the union goes against the school’s “Quaker values,” that include direct interactions with teachers when discussing work conditions. Dan Magaziner, a parent who received the letter, was offended by the email, calling it “morally abhorrent.”
More than two hundred parents, teachers, and former staffers have sent an open letter
to Caceres, criticizing Caceres for violating the values of the progressive school.
“Standing behind a policy that unfairly restricts the rights of workers to unionize, serves to delegitimize the school’s legacy of integrity and social justice,” read the letter. “At a time when our country is ravaged by a pandemic, jeopardizing lives and livelihoods, it is shameful and bewildering that BFS would attempt to destroy its own employees’ union rights.”
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