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Oregon Virtual Academy Teachers Vote to Form New Union

Friday, August 13, 2021

OEU - Oregon Virtual Academy Educators United
NORTH BEND, OR — Teachers at the Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA) in North Bend voted overwhelmingly to form a new union, the ORVA Educators United (OEU). The National Labor Relations Board oversaw the election results on Thursday, with over 80% of ORVA’s teachers voting to form the new union. 

“We are thrilled that a supermajority of teachers and advisors at ORVA voted yes for our union,” said Marcy Tell with the OEU Organizing Committee. “We know that when we as educators have a voice and are able to collectively bargain, that we will achieve gains to benefit our students and the entire ORVA community.”

“In my six years at ORVA, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many amazing teachers. One of the reasons I voted yes was to make ORVA the premiere virtual charter school in Oregon where teachers want to come and stay,” added Devon Dorn, an ORVA SPED teacher. “The union-school relationship at its core is collaborative and we look forward to continuing that relationship through the collective bargaining process.”

OEU vote count
OEU Vote Count

OEU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, formed because the teachers wanted a real voice in the decisions made to improve student success.  They wanted to collectively bargain over issues like equity, transparency, competitive compensation packages, and increased workloads. The current conditions have resulted in instructor turnover rates above 20% annually. 

Jaime Rodriguez, President of American Federation Teachers - Oregon, said, “We are proud to welcome OEU as the latest addition to the AFT-Oregon state locals. I call on the ORVA Board to begin negotiations immediately on a fair and equitable contract for all OEU members.”

Rodriguez added, “ORVA is one of several virtual, publicly-funded, and privately-managed charter schools in Oregon. For too long, these charter schools have relied on underpaid and overworked non-union teachers. With the successful creation of OEU today, we expect other charter school teachers will soon follow in our footsteps.”

Chartered in 1952, AFT-Oregon, a state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, is a non-profit organization representing 16,000 Oregon workers in K-12, community college and higher education in faculty and classified positions; and child care workers, in both public and private sectors. AFT-Oregon, in coalition with other unions and community groups, advocates for quality education and health care for all Oregonians, and gives working people a voice in our state’s capitol.

Contact: Will Mahoney-Watson, AFT-Oregon Communications Specialist, 503-863-4370

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