Thursday, October 27, 2022
NEW ORLEANS, LA – The Rooted School New Orleans Board voted last night to enter into collective bargaining with The Rooted Union of Staff & Teachers (TRUST), a chapter of the United Teachers of New Orleans, AFT Local 527 (UTNO). Rooted becomes the fifth school in New Orleans today to have union recognition for its staff and teachers.
95% of teachers and staff signed a petition asking the administration to voluntarily recognize their union and enter into collective bargaining. This petition, along with presentations outlining the importance of unionization to solidify the culture of the school for the long term, was presented to the Board at their meeting on Wednesday, October 26th by Rooted teachers and staff. After taking an executive session to consider the issue, the Board voted unanimously to support their teachers and recognize their union.
Raven Matthews, an English Teacher at Rooted said “Rooted is the first place I have had so much academic freedom. I see the benefits of this academic freedom on our students and families and want to make sure we continue to keep what we have here by forming a union and negotiating a contract.”
UTNO President Dave Cash is also a technology teacher at Rooted. Before the vote, he said “Rooted is the gold standard for a positive, productive relationship between a leader and her team. We have what everyone else in the city needs and deserves. Forming a union is our opportunity to show other schools what’s possible when everyone works together in the service of students and their families.”
Following the vote, Kaitlin Karpinski, Executive Director and School Leader of Rooted School New Orleans, was excited about the implications of the board's decision. "I'm so excited about what this means for the longevity of our school as an institution." She continued, "The more we bake collectivism and collaboration into our DNA, the better we can serve our families and community."
GeDá Jones Herbert, President of the Rooted School New Orleans Board, added, “Rooted School exists to close the wealth and opportunity gap by providing each of our students with a quality education and a personal pathway to financial freedom. We accomplish this by investing in and empowering the students and communities we serve. One of the most critical parts of this ecosystem is the dedicated Rooted faculty and staff. The Rooted School New Orleans Board of Directors commends The Rooted Union of Staff and Teachers (TRUST) for modeling for our students and community how a democratic workplace can look.”
In the coming weeks, leadership from Rooted and TRUST will come together to begin the process of formal negotiations with the goal of finalizing a collective bargaining agreement.
About United Teachers of New Orleans, AFT Local 527
United Teachers of New Orleans is a union of professionals, organized to collectively and democratically increase equity in public education for students, parents, teachers, and communities in order to protect dignity and civil rights for all. Teachers and school personnel have found their voice and power for advocacy through Local 527 since its founding in 1937. The Rooted Union of Staff and Teachers is UTNO’s newest chapter, representing teachers and staff at the Rooted School. For more information, please visit utno.org.
About Rooted School
Rooted School opened its doors for the first time on August 8, 2017, with a mission to provide students personal pathways to financial freedom. Our promise is not only to prepare students for college, but also prepare students to enter the workplace directly from high school. We innovate, iterate, and collaborate to ensure our students lead the way to closing the racial wealth gap as they root themselves deeply in their communities.