Last Week in the EPEA
Keeping members informed and engaged ... June 7, 2018
EPEA Secretary UPDATE
Rep Congress voted and elected Cheryl Heaney to the vacant EPEA Executive Board Secretary Position. Thank you to all our interested candidates.
State of the Union
Successes this year:
* EPEA obtained the NEA grant this year to help fund a full time president
* Constitution / Bylaw revision for 2018
* Education MN member engagement grant
* 99% of those eligible choose membership
* Contract salary improvement that remains in line with state averages
* Education MN Crisis Grant funds are expected to be in place by fall
* 96% of our teachers have recommitted their membership to Ed MN and EPEA
* EPEA Team trivia event was a big success - more to come in the fall
Goals for next year:
* Maintain membership in Right to Work environment - that presents a challenge when addressing our 90 or so new teachers in August.
* Get out and vote campaign will be critical in the fall - you'll be hearing from site action leasders
* Our NEA Grant outlines much in the EPEA goals around FT President
* Our Crisis Fund grant will outline our work and goals for member engagement around future negotiations
* New EPEA spirit wear options for fall purchase / Other EPEA Promotional Products
EPEA this summer:
* NEA Convention in Minneapolis over the week of July 4
* Summer Seminar - 3 days in August
* Preschool teachers organizing a bargaining unit under EPEA
* Email Tom Baker if any concerns or questions pop up over the summer - phone and office location are changing
Right to Work and Janus - THE FACTS
Who is Janus: Mark Janus is an Illinois fair share state employee who is represented by AFSCME. While not a member of AFSCME, state law requires that Janus be represented by the union if he requests it.
Under Illinois law, members may decline to join the union, but must pay their fair share of the costs to collectively bargain the contract they work under & the maintenance thereof.
Janus claims that his requirement to pay a fair share fee to AFSCME for activities related to collective bargaining violates his first amendment rights. Specifically, Janus argues that all union activities are political & that charging a non-joiners fee (a.k.a. fair share) for the union’s “speech” violates an individual’s right against compelled speech.
What happens when the Supreme Court rules in favor of Janus?
Assessment of fair share dues will stop immediately! EPEA has approximately 15 non-members. It’s also possible the decision will be retroactive to the filing date.
Other right to work states have seen a 10% drop in membership for the 2018 - 2019 school year. The Public Employee Labor Relations Act (PELRA) would still obligate EPEA to provide representation to all under the contract whether they are a member or not. Further, the salary and benefits negotiated under the contract would be provided without the support of dues for that work. This could have a significant impact on our budget. All the recent national strikes are right to work states fighting for their salaries and funding for public education. National teacher salaries have actually declined in the last decade.
99% of our EP teachers are members. That is a powerful and strong message of unity and support. A loss of membership impacts locals’ ability to negotiate with a collective voice or pay negotiators or other representatives that support members. That impact is uncertain. There is the potential for division and resentment among active union members and those who receive benefits and service without paying dues.
Members will be the recipient of known campaigns by anti union groups offering cheaper services, pressure to drop membership, etc. They will knock on our doors. They will call you. Why would a group encourage you to drop membership? Because it reduces our voice and ability to support members and public education. Members already have received targeted ads to such effect online. Anti union commentary already has appeared in our community newspapers. It’s important you notify your EPEA leadership when if you receive any of these. It’s important you carefully consider the impact of any decisions you make.
Everything WE (that’s you who makes up the EPEA) do in an organized and unified fashion matters. #Chooseunion. Let fellow EPEA members know why you choose union and membership @ https://twitter.com/epea_teachers and https://www.facebook.com/groups/epeateachers/
A recent survey shows that 85 percent of all teachers consider unions essential or important, including 74 percent of nonunion teachers. The survey was conducted by Educators for Excellence. In a recent statement, we noted that the AFT doesn’t always agree with E4E, but we were encouraged by its report: “This poll, conducted by an educator group supported by philanthropists not known to be pro-union, confirms what we have seen nationwide: Educators—union members and nonmembers alike—believe that teachers unions play a vital role in their lives, and they value that voice and that representation.”
In the meantime, let’s be ready for the day the Supreme Court issues its Janus decision. There will be lots of stories that day talking about how the decision is a blow for unions. Our goal is to ensure that the day’s narrative is that the Janus decision is not going to break us, that working people need unions now more than ever, and that that’s why we’re sticking with our unions and recommitting ourselves to each other and our communities.
This is an opportunity for a more unified and engaged union. Check email and EPEA news for Janus updates over the summer and how you can support the OUR EPEA!
NEA Delegates - Go Fund Me - NEA Fund for Children and Public Education
The Go Fund Me pages below are one way you can support with any small donation. You can also contact delegates directly to make contributions.
Member Engagement and Union Connection
Members wrote and illustrated their connection to the union and it's meaning to them. More to come. What's your Union identity?