Mayport High School in Virginia’s coastal town of Mayport has become the latest school district to hire a union.
The district announced Wednesday that the Mayport Public School Teachers Association will join the school district’s STEM, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce, joining the ranks of the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and other unions in supporting the teachers’ rights to collectively bargain.
The announcement comes after a wave of teacher layoffs in the region in recent years, a trend that has seen some schools cut more than 70 percent of their STEM teachers since the recession.
The union will work with teachers to advocate for better representation, better pay, and more support for teachers who need it most, Mayport school board member Mary Jo Fenn said in a statement.
“As the first school district in Virginia to join the United Teachers Local 1031 union, Mayps high school teacher unions are here to make sure the best-trained and experienced teachers are given the opportunities they deserve,” Fenn continued.
Mayport’s new union is the latest wave of teachers unions joining the push for better pay and more funding to teachers in STEM fields.
The National Education Federation and other groups have called for the government to provide grants and other support for public schools to increase teacher pay, a common theme of a growing wave of public-sector unionization drives in the United States.
“In the last year, the number of public schools that have been unionized has gone up by nearly 1,000,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told a panel at the White House earlier this month.
“That’s a tremendous increase.”
A national survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that more than 60 percent of public and private schools across the country are unionized.
Last year, more than 6,000 schools and colleges across the United Kingdom and Germany were also unionized, the report found.
And in recent weeks, a number of school districts across the U.S. and other countries have announced a plan to begin hiring teachers unions, including in California, New York, Texas, and Arizona.