As a union of 30,000 academic workers in New York City, the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY stands in solidarity with the teachers, office workers, and cafeteria and maintenance staff at Brooklyn Friends School who are on the picket line right now defending their right to be represented by a union.
The Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Friends School and its Head of School, Crissy Cáceres, should immediately withdraw their petition to the National Labor Relations Board seeking to decertify the Brooklyn Friends Union (UAW Local 2110). The petition is based on an anti-worker ruling of the Trump-appointee-led National Labor Relations Board, which upends precedent that allows workers at religious and faith-based organizations to unionize. Cáceres and the Trustees are not upholding Quaker values, as they claim. They are callously exploiting an opportunity to deny the rights of their employees and are ignoring the tradition of social justice to which they profess.
An overwhelming majority of workers at the Brooklyn Friends School voted to form a union in May 2019 so that they would have a collective voice in the terms and conditions of their work. Workers always need a union, but in the midst of a pandemic and a deep recession, union representation is more important than ever. That is why the teachers and their colleagues voted 120 to 5 in favor of authorizing a strike. That is why parents of Brooklyn Friends School students, unions such as the PSC, and workers at other Quaker institutions are acting in solidarity.
The management of Brooklyn Friends School has canceled classes Monday and Tuesday, October 5-6, because of the pressure brought to bear on them by the workers’ strike preparation. The PSC calls on Cáceres and the Brooklyn Friends School Trustees to withdraw the decertification petition and bargain in good faith with the Brooklyn Friends Union.