Staff at KIPP St. Louis High School vote to decertify union


St. Louis – KIPP High School staff members voted May 17 to decertify their union representation after more than a year of fighting to negotiate a first contract with the charter school network.

The vote tally, overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), was 19 to decertify to 17 against, with two challenged ballots and one blank ballot. The challenged ballots would not be determining; therefore the union unit is decertified.

“Although we are disappointed that the anti-union drive conducted by the Right to Work Foundation was successful, one silver lining for KIPP St. Louis Charter School educators is the 10 percent raises that can be credited to AFT St. Louis’ efforts,” said Byron Clemens, spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers Local 420, in a statement.

The high school’s teachers and support staff voted to unionize in November 2022, but negotiations stalled over the union’s demands for third-party arbitration for grievances and just cause for termination. KIPP offered the teachers 10 percent raises, but under federal law they could not be awarded while a contract was being negotiated.

About two dozen unionized staff members held a one-day strike last month at the school on north Jefferson Avenue. After the strike, KIPP teacher Robin Johnston started a petition to decertify the union.

The anti-union National Right to Work Foundation, which provides anti-union legal services, filed the petition with the NLRB.

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