Kaplan’s English-as-a-second-language teachers voted last week to join the Newspaper Guild of New York, becoming the company’s first employees to unionize.
Employees voted to join TNG-CWA Local 31003 by a 56 to 28 margin, despite management’s aggressive anti-union leafleting and mandatory meetings.
“These are professional employees, many with masters’ degrees, who are paid at an assortment of illogical hourly rates as low as the $7.25 federal minimum wage,” said Guild President Bill O'Meara. “They know they should be treated better and they deserve a lot of credit for maintaining their focus through Kaplan's incredibly intense campaign.”
Kaplan is the educational subsidiary of The Washington Post Company. The ESL teachers first approached the Guild about organizing earlier this year, seeking help in raising their pay, getting paid time off for illness and vacation, among other issues.
“This is of course a great day for teachers at Kaplan,” said Kaplan teacher Danny Valdes. “But I hope that this shows teachers that we can increase standards industry-wide by coming together to organize.”
The National Labor Relations Board is expected to certify the Guild as the bargaining agent for the group of about 95 teachers this week.