The Jurisdictional Difficulties of Defining Charter-School Teachers Unions Under Current Labor Law

by Amelia A. DeGory

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Abstract

As charter schools have flourished in form, they have also evolved in variety: parents can send their children to a trilingual immersion school or a school whose classes meet entirely online. The same flexibility that charters offer as an alternative to traditional public schools also makes them difficult to classify for purposes of labor law. When charter-school teachers form a union, it is not clear why the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and not a state labor analogue, should have jurisdiction over a charter-school labor dispute. And yet, the NLRB has asserted jurisdiction in most charter-school cases. This Note examines the NLRB’s test for determining whether the broad protections of the National Labor Relations Act apply to a group of workers in the context of charter-school employees. It proposes a more robust test for differentiating between charter schools for purposes of the Act, and it applies the test to two charter schools.

The Jurisdictional Difficulties of Defining Charter-School Teachers Unions Under Current Labor Law

by Amelia A. DeGory

Click here for a PDF file of this article

Abstract

As charter schools have flourished in form, they have also evolved in variety: parents can send their children to a trilingual immersion school or a school whose classes meet entirely online. The same flexibility that charters offer as an alternative to traditional public schools also makes them difficult to classify for purposes of labor law. When charter-school teachers form a union, it is not clear why the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and not a state labor analogue, should have jurisdiction over a charter-school labor dispute. And yet, the NLRB has asserted jurisdiction in most charter-school cases. This Note examines the NLRB’s test for determining whether the broad protections of the National Labor Relations Act apply to a group of workers in the context of charter-school employees. It proposes a more robust test for differentiating between charter schools for purposes of the Act, and it applies the test to two charter schools.