A group called “Choice for Teachers” may have sent you an email encouraging you to drop your union membership. The email is part of a larger campaign to weaken public-sector unions, including WEA and it’s locals. It is funded by corporate interests, including an anti-union political group called the “Freedom Foundation.” It’s a direct attack on our union and our ability to advocate for our students. Here are some important points to keep in mind:
We need a strong union…
Without a strong union protecting our bargaining and employment rights, things would be much worse for teacher, education support professionals and public schools. Many politicians in Olympia would be trying to freeze salaries, cut health and retirement benefits, and allow even larger class sizes.
In addition, well-funded right-wing groups are waging a campaign to weaken or even outlaw public sector unions. If they succeed, we could lose our right to bargain locally for improved pay and benefits and for better conditions for our students. We need the WEA and our local associations to continue fighting these anti-education efforts.
There’s strength in unity…
Your local association bargains your contract, including salaries, benefits, working conditions and a fair evaluation process, and the local is there to make sure school administrators follow all the provisions of the contract. With a strong membership, the local union has the power to protect the rights and economic security of members, and to fight for the best interests of students.
By joining together we can reach goals that we can’t achieve on our own. Together we negotiate for better salaries, benefits and working conditions. Together, we advocate for more funding and equal access to a quality education for all of our kids, regardless of their backgrounds. Our membership in the WEA gives us the strength in numbers to be able to do things we could not do alone.
On a local level, I’d also like to point out that the dues HEA members pay are among the lowest in the county. We have purposefully avoided increasing your local dues, sometimes despite the recommendation of our state organization, in order to keep more money in our members’ pockets. We are very conscious of the fact that every dollar counts in this economic climate for educators, and we want to assure you that your dues are always being used thoughtfully and efficiently. If you should ever have any questions regarding how your dues are spent, please feel free to ask one of your HEA officers.
We thank you for standing in solidarity with your fellow professionals.