Teachers at Connections Academy Vote to Join Maine Education Association, Corporation Fights Vote

In a hearing in Boston, an attorney for the teachers from virtual school, Connections Academy are arguing the election held in November was valid, giving the teachers the right to form a union affiliated with the Maine Education Association (MEA).

Since the election, Connections Academy has denied the teachers’ ability to collectively organize as a new unit of the MEA, contesting some of the ballots. In total, four of the ballots are being contested, two by Connections Academy, one by the NLRB and one by the MEA. The hearing on those contested ballots is taking place today and may continue on Monday.

Connections Academy contracts out with Pearson, part of a national company not based in Maine, for many services such as human resources.  Since the union election, they have spent tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer dollars to fight the teachers’ wishes in forming a union. The issue is being argued in front of the National Labor Relations Board.

“The election held was fair and valid. To have to bring this issue to court is proof of why these educators need to have a union. The Maine Education Association is always working to ensure educator voices are heard, no matter where they work. These teachers deserve to have their voices heard, and MEA is working to make sure that happens. The teachers at Connections Academy deserve a seat at the table—the tactics being used to fight against them are not only costly to the taxpayer but are simply wrong,” said Grace Leavitt, president of the Maine Education Association.

A ruling from the hearing is expected later in January. There are 22 employees at Connections Academy that are eligible to be part of the new bargaining unit. The election in November resulted in a 9-7 victory, in favor of forming a union. Connections Academy is the second charter school in Maine, joining Baxter Academy, to organize a union under the MEA.