We are pleased to announce that the faculty and staff of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School have joined our Local!
The workers at PVPA were concerned about their working conditions, including not having input regarding the issues that were most important to themselves, their students, and their school. They decided that in order to have a voice, they wanted to form a union. They decided to organize with our Local, and we are proud that they did. Last fall, a group of PVPA faculty and staff went through an organizer training and then spent countless hours having one on one conversations with all of their co-workers about workplace concerns, how to make them better, and why forming a union would give them all the power to make a difference.
Their campaign was a resounding success, with 90% of the faculty and staff ultimately signing cards in favor of unionizing. The group then faced another challenge when the school administration attempted to divide the workers along professional/non-professional lines. They organized and made a forceful statement to their Board of Trustees that the faculty and staff intended to bargain together. Earlier this week, they received official certification of their union from the Massachusetts Department of Labor. The next step will be to bargain a first contract. They have already elected their bargaining team and are eager to start.
We hope you will join us in welcoming our newest unit to the Local. We are inspired by their passion and their commitment to solidarity.
See below for our press release:
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School Union Certified By Mass Labor Board
On February 8, the Massachusetts Department of Labor formally approved a petition by the faculty and staff of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School (PVPA) to form a union and join Local 2322 of the UAW (United Automobile, Aerospace and Agriculture Implement Workers of America).
PVPA is a Commonwealth charter public school located in South Hadley, which provides a college preparatory curriculum for grades 7 to 12, with extensive exposure to the performing arts. Celebrating its twenty-first year, PVPA is the fourth charter school in Massachusetts to unionize.
Local 2322 is an amalgamated union which is headquartered in Holyoke, representing twenty-seven bargaining units in Western Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. Its members include, mental health and other human services workers, and municipal employees.
President of Local 2322, Jocelyn Silverlight, said, “We are excited to welcome the faculty and staff of PVPA to our union. PVPA is a great school with great employees and we look forward to a productive bargaining relationship with the PVPA administration and board of trustees.” High school math teacher Elmo Wright, a member of the bargaining committee, adds, “Unions have a long history of empowering workers in our country and around the world, and we are eager to bring the benefits of collective bargaining to our PVPA community.”