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Region 29-Brooklyn Wins Administrative Law Judge Decision Requiring Elm Community Charter School to Bargain in Good Faith with Union

Office of Public Affairs

On November 3, 2022, the Honorable Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey P. Gardner issued a Decision and Recommended Order finding that Elm Community Charter School, a public charter school in Queens, NY, engaged in bad faith bargaining by unilaterally setting initial salaries for new teachers without bargaining with the teachers’ newly certified Union, United Federation of Teachers, Local 2, AFT, AFL-CIO.

While Elm Community and Local 2 were in the midst of bargaining about teachers’ salaries and other terms and conditions of employment for the parties’ first contract, Elm set new employees’ starting salaries without any notice to the Local 2, depriving Local 2 of an opportunity to bargain.

ALJ Gardner found that Elm Community had no justification for unilaterally setting salaries for new teachers and bypassing its obligation to notify and bargain with Local 2, noting that the Elm Community did not use any objective criteria or method for determining salaries and that its salaries were entirely subjective.

“Once employees have voted for union representation, employers must honor this decision by bargaining in good faith with the union,” said Region 29 Regional Director Teresa Poor. “ALJ Gardner’s decision shows that the Act enforces these employees’ choice to be represented by a union and collectively bargain by keeping employers from unilaterally making decisions about salaries. I’m grateful for the work of Region 29’s attorneys and professional administrative staff in securing relief for these workers.”

To remedy its unfair labor practices, the ALJ Gardner ordered Elm Community to cease and desist from unilaterally setting wages for its employees and to notify its employees, by posting and electronic messaging, that Elm Community will not unilaterally set wages and that it will bargain in good faith with the Union.

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year. Region 29 serves areas in New York from its Regional Office in Brooklyn.