For more information, contact:

Chris Williams
651-292-4816 (work)
651-245-5539 (cell)

Doug Dooher
651-292-4820 (work)
651-245-6141 (cell)

Note: Media availability scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday. Details are at the end of release.

ST. PAUL, Minn., June 11, 2014 -- The educators of the Community School of Excellence, a St. Paul charter school, voted Wednesday to form a bargaining unit and become a chapter of Education Minnesota, the statewide union of Minnesota educators.

“This is a historic and positive day for CSE,” said Casey Seeling, a CSE kindergarten teacher. “We hope the decision to unionize will increase our student achievement in the future and build stronger relationships among our school community.”

The CSE staff voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to become Education Minnesota members. Once the results are certified by the National Labor Relations Board, the 128 educators at CSE can formally join Education Minnesota. The new bargaining unit will include teachers, education assistants, and clerical, food service and maintenance staff.

The teachers at the school will now adopt governing documents and start negotiating their first contract. The process may take several months.

CSE will become the second charter school currently affiliated with Education Minnesota’s Federation of Charter School Employees. The teachers at the Twin Cities German Immersion School in St. Paul voted to join in January.

Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said she looked forward to working with the educators at CSE. “They want respect and the opportunity to improve the quality of education for their students,” she said. “Education Minnesota will help them in every way we can.”

“I’ve often said a union contract is like the First Amendment for educators,” Specht added. “It permits them to speak out without fear about what’s happening in their schools. Those conversations are vital for keeping families engaged and schools focused on preparing students for successful lives.”

For journalists seeking live interviews with CSE staff members, Education Minnesota will host a media availability from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 12, at the Education Minnesota offices, 41 Sherburne Ave., St. Paul.

About Education Minnesota

Education Minnesota represents 70,000 professionals working together for excellence in education for all students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.