The National Labor Relations Board has cleared the way for a union election at International High School of New Orleans.

Employees of the charter high school will vote May 27 on whether they want United Teachers of New Orleans to negotiate their pay and benefits with the school’s board.

It will be the second union election at a charter school in two weeks. Teachers at Lusher Charter School voted against union representation Tuesday.

United Teachers of New Orleans asked International’s board to officially recognize it as the teachers’ representative, but the board did not respond.

The union then asked the labor board hold an election, which the school board challenged. At a hearing last week, school board lawyer Brooke Duncan argued the school was a government body and therefore not subject to the federal labor board. That’s the same argument Lusher made.

The regional director ruled that International High School does fall under its authority because it’s a private, nonprofit corporation — just like Lusher.

There are two standards that determine if an entity is a state government body. One is whether it has elected members who are accountable to the public.

“There is no evidence that a board member [at International] has ever been appointed and /or removed by a public official or the general electorate,” wrote Regional Director M. Kathleen McKinney.

International’s school board can request a review of her ruling, but that alone will not stop the election from proceeding.

Employees will vote in two groups, essentially split between teachers and paraprofessionals, such as teacher’s aides.

The teachers will vote on whether they want the union to represent them in the same “bargaining unit” as paraprofessionals. If so, all votes will be counted together.

If not, ballots for teachers and paraprofessionals will be counted separately. Either can decide to be represented by the union.

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...