The recent surprise decision by the board of a Philadelphia-area Jewish day school to stop recognizing its teachers union of 38 years has drawn the ire of Randi Weingarten, one of America’s leading labor leaders.
Weingarten, the national president of the American Federation of Teachers, shared her thoughts on the situation at Perelman Jewish Day School — whose union this week filed a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board — in a strongly worded email statement to JTA today:
As a Jew who grew up in the Conservative movement and a union leader, I’m appalled at what has transpired at the Perelman Jewish Day School. Management has taken it upon itself to strip the educators of their voice and their union, in direct violation of core tenets of our faith—honoring the treatment of our workers and our teachers. The rights to association and to organize are fundamental to a just and democratic society. What message does it send to our students and their parents when a Jewish day school violates these precepts by destroying a union that’s been in place for four decades?
No doubt the Perelman school will assemble its students for a Passover seder to tell the communal story of the journey from oppression and slavery in Egypt to liberation. I call on the Perelman school to change its own Passover story and, instead of oppressing its teachers, to reverse its decision to strip teachers of their union.