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International High School Educators Win Pay for Illegal Firing

Educators’ basic right to join together in a labor union affirmed

New Orleans— The National Labor Relations Board has approved a settlement of a labor complaint filed against International High School of New Orleans, directing the charter school to pay two teachers fired during a union organizing drive. 

The teachers, Stephanie Jackson and Frank Ruzicka, were leading members of the push for a union at IHSNO. The NLRB’s Region 15 determined they were illegally targeted for their organizing activities, in contravention of section 8(a)3 of the National Labor Relations Act. In addition to back pay, the order also requires the school to post a notice of the resolution and an affirmation of educators’ rights under the act.

“I am relieved by the decision that proves we were discriminated against for exercising our basic right to join together to improve the quality of education for our students,” said Jackson. “While we have no ill will toward them, it’s vitally important that IHSNO and other charter operators recognize that union activity is protected.”

“Educators at IHSNO joined together in a union of professionals to improve their school. This recent resolution by yet another department of the federal government affirms that no charter school can trample on the rights of employees,” said UTNO President Jim Randels. “I hope IHSNO and other charter schools in the city will put students first by following federal law and using school funds to meet student and instructional needs—unlike IHSNO, which continues to spend school resources challenging educators’ rights through their ongoing refusal to bargain a contract.”

UTNO is an affiliate of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers, which represents 229 charter schools in 15 states nationwide. UTNO represents educators and support staff at four New Orleans charter schools, including IHSNO.