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Union Notches a Victory in Unionization Drive at Calif. Charter Chain

California's public labor-relations board has agreed to seek court relief to prevent interference in teacher-unionization efforts at a popular Los Angeles-based charter school chain. 

The ruling concerns a divisive bid to organize the 27 campuses of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. As I reported for a few months back, a group of Alliance teachers in March sought representation from United Teachers Los Angeles, the city teachers' union. But things went sour quickly. Alliance has opposed unionization, including by setting up a website claiming that perquisites like performance bonuses could be in jeopardy under unionization. The site also asks visitors to sign a petition for an "independent Alliance." (Some 1,600 parents and other supporters have signed it.)

UTLA requested the injuction to prevent what it alleges are anti-union practices, including the website and intimidation of teachers. Thstate Public Employee Relations board, apparently agreeing, said it will seek court action to enforce the state labor laws. The charter management organization, meanwhile, claims that its activities fall within the law. 

To be clear, PERB's injunction request doesn't address the four labor-practice violations that UTLA has filed on behalf of the teachers. But it's a pretty good sign that it finds the whole situation troubling, at the very least. 

What remedies the court will grant remain to be seen. 

The first of the UTLA's PERB complaints will be heard Nov. 2. 

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