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Why teachers of an Arizona charter school have voted to unionize

A Tucson charter school recently voted to become the first unionized charter school in the state.

TUCSON, Ariz. — A Tucson charter school has become the first charter school in Arizona to unionize. 

BASIS Tucson North teachers voted Wednesday to form a teacher's union. 

The union will be represented by the American Federation of Teachers. 

It's the first time a charter school in Arizona has voted to form a union to negotiate with the owners of the school.

"We are managed by a private company with opaque finances," teacher and union organizer Trudi Connolly said. "We completely believe that they have the ability to make more money available to the individual schools that they, in theory, manage."

BASIS is a multistate charter school company that began in Arizona. It's privately owned and for-profit. Connolly said she believes the company could do better by its teachers.

As for whether other Arizona charter schools could follow their lead, Connolly said she believes others, including other BASIS schools, might organize. 

"We feel that if we can do this, others will see that they can too," Connolly added.

BASIS sent the following statement about the union vote: 

We respect the teachers at BASIS Tucson North and their right to vote on this matter.

We remain focused on the best interests of students at BASIS Tucson North, and making sure this school remains one of the best in Arizona and the nation. We will keep working hard to ensure that's the case, while following the law and negotiating in good faith with the union.

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