Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SOS March supports collective bargaining rights for teachers and public employees

Join me in D.C. July 28-30 

I am happy to see this statement of support for teachers' collective bargaining rights coming from the organizers of the July 30th Save Our Schools March & National Call to Action in D.C. I am even more excited to see this early list of union endorsements for the March. There's room on it for lots of other union locals, state and national endorsements.

I hope you will meet me in D.C. Here's the SOS statement and list:

Unions of all kinds are currently under political attack. Public employee unions are especially under fire, as we have seen in Wisconsin and now in other states. As members of public employee unions, teachers are particularly aware of the risks inherent in allowing such attacks to go unchallenged.

Those of us involved in organizing the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action recognize the importance of the right to unionize for all employees. States which have unionized work forces have higher standards of living, and higher performance on various academic measures. Indeed, the nation with the most consistent performance on international comparisons of student performance, Finland, has a teacher corps that is almost completely unionized.

But this is not just about teachers. It is about police, firefighters and nurses. It is about all workers who wish to organize and collectively bargain on productive working conditions, safety and compensation including benefits.

This is not just about adults, either. Poverty is one of the major factors undermining student achievement in America. By empowering employees to improve their working conditions and pay, collective bargaining rights help to stabilize and strengthen families and communities. That, in turn, boosts the social and financial support available to students and schools. The interests of schools, students, teachers, families, and communities are all connected. Attempts to reform schools without simultaneously strengthening communities have a long history of failure– a history that we need to reverse.

For these reasons, we fully support the right of all workers to participate in unions, and for unions to have the right to organize and to represent their membership, including through collective bargaining.
Here is a list of unions that have already endorsed our effort. We hope also to gain the support of unions outside of education.
  • American Federation of Teachers – Executive Committee (preliminary endorsement)
  • Bedford Teachers’ Association (Bedford, NY – AFT)
  • Broward Teachers Union (Broward County, FL – AFT/NEA)
  • Cambridge College Employees Federation (Cambridge, MA – AFT)
  • Chicago Teachers Union (Chicago, IL – AFT)
  • Classroom Teachers Association of Palm Beach (Palm Beach County, FL – NEA)
  • Collie County Education Association (Marco Island, FL – NEA)
  • Colorado Education Association (NEA)
  • Education Austin (Austin, TX – AFT/NEA)
  • Florida Educators Association (NEA)
  • Forest Grove Education Association (Forest Grove, OR – NEA)
  • Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (Milwaukee, WI – NEA)
  • North Carolina Association of Educators (NEA)
  • Oakland Education Association (Oakland, CA – NEA)
  • Roseville Federation of Teachers (Roseville, Michigan – AFT)
  • United Teachers of Dade (Dade County, FL – AFT/NEA)
  • Wisconsin Education Association Council (NEA)

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