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410.01100 – Content of Communication

The content of e-mails sent to charter school employees by agents of their employer sowed fear and distrust of unionization, the collective bargaining process, and of a specific union. For example, several of the communications conveyed that the union is “vehemently anti-charter” and spends member dues to support political campaigns directed at closing charter schools. (p. 54.) The e-mails also repeatedly sent the message that union organizers will violate employees’ privacy and will deceive and coerce employees. (p. 55.) Some e-mails conveyed opinions that the union and other unions only serve the interests of lazy employees and “disgruntled” employees with “negative” attitudes. (p. 57.) A couple of e-mails attacked the union for allegedly attempting to block employees from discussing or debating unionization, as well as for allegedly excluding teachers from union discussions. (p. 58.) Some e-mails raised fears that the union would require employees to accept onerous or undesirable provisions of the union’s collective bargaining agreement with another school district. (p. 59.) Several e-mails conveyed that unionization causes strife among co-workers, which would cause administrators and other teachers to resign. (p. 60.) Some e-mails expressed that unionization would hurt the quality of education, causing parents to withdraw their students from the charter schools and imperiling the schools’ future. (p. 61.) On their face, these e-mails conveyed that unionization, especially with a specific union, will lead only to potential negative consequences, such as unwanted terms and conditions of employment being forced upon employees by the union, increased strife among employees, lower quality of education for students, resignation of administrators and teachers, and even school closures. (p. 62.) The Board found that the content of the e-mails tended in several ways to influence employees’ choice whether or not to authorize representation by a union.