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union activism


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 18 2002 - 10:05:05 PDT

I couldn't agree more with San D
> My union has not only made me proud when they
> were pushed against a wall during negotiations, but made sure that I got
> what was fair and equitable in salary and working conditions. If you pay
> dues and do not participate you can't complain. If you are work in a school
> system without representation, you end up with conditions like 47 kids in a
> classroom, or no break or prep periods, or a salary based on how the
> superintendent felt about you and your interview.

I know there are all kinds of reasons why people support or don't support
unions. I know in some states laws make activism prohibitive. But I for
one, look to the power of collective bargaining as a precious right. I feel
very very lucky to be in a district with a very strong association. Their
efforts over the years have been remarkable. Our leadership never hesitates
to intervene if they see a contract infraction. It doesn't mean we are
"less" teachers than others, we probably give more of our own time than
many. But that is time freely given and not mandated. Something else that
hasn't been mentioned. If you ever get an unsatisfactory observation, who
do you go to for help if you don't have a union? We have reps specially
trained to deal with this and a mandatory process to enact should the
unsatisfactory occur.
A good association works with administrations and boards so that it is a
sense of working together and not "sides taken." Organizations like NAEA
can make guidelines, but only your local can see that those guidelines are
followed. And it takes participation to make it work.