Columbus Teachers Blast ‘Unconscionable, Illegal’ Decision to Strip Homeless Youth Advocates of Union Status and Contract Protections

COLUMBUS, Ohio – June 13, 2022 – The Columbus Education Association, the Union representing nearly 4,500 educators in Columbus City Schools, reacted today to an internal announcement that the District will attempt to unilaterally remove from the CEA bargaining unit members in the Project Connect program who advocate for students experiencing homelessness, thereby stripping these educators of their union status and contract protections after decades of union membership.

“Our team ensures the educational rights of more than 2,000 children who live in shelters, hotels, and other transitional housing situations every year” said Amy Bradley, a Youth Academic Advocate who started with Project Connect in 2014. “Losing our union status would make Project Connect a less desirable career and weaken our community relationships that help feed, clothe, and educate our most vulnerable youth.”

“Our students who are experiencing homelessness are not second-class citizens and deserve the same access to CEA professionals as all of our other students” said CEA President John Coneglio. “We have filed a grievance regarding this unconscionable, illegal decision and will pursue Unfair Labor Practice charges with the State Employment Relations Board as well.”

The CEA-CCS Master Agreement expires at midnight on August 21.  With negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement underway, members of the Columbus Education Association are fighting for the schools Columbus students deserve: safe, properly maintained, and fully resourced schools in every neighborhood.  Coneglio added, “The District’s unilateral decision to outsource these jobs shines a bright light on the lengths the District is willing to go to deprioritize the resources our vulnerable students need.”

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The Columbus Education Association is the union representing nearly 4,500 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists, and other education professionals in Columbus City Schools. The Columbus Education Association is a proud affiliate of the Ohio Education Association and the National Education Association.