I left the NEA Representative Assembly in Denver with good feelings. We passed a strong statement on the misuse of testing. We called for the firing of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. We caused heartburn for union-hating centrist Democrats and public school-hating Republicans. We elected three strong women of color to head our union.
So, it is more than a little troubling that members of the NEA Staff Union – employees of the NEA – can’t get a contract.
I strongly believe that collective bargaining works. Regardless of the issues being bargained, an agreement can be reached if both sides want one.
Our new leadership should direct NEA Executive Director John Stocks to do whatever he can to reach a settlement that is fair and equitable to both sides.
This from the NFSE:
NEA Staff Union Urges Management to End the Hypocrisy
Bullying, intimidation and anti-union tactics used against employees
(Washington, D.C.)— Despite multiple attempts to reach a settlement with management, National Education Association (NEA) employees continue to work without a contract. Meanwhile, NEA executive director John Stocks hasn’t stopped his attacks on the very workers who have helped slow the membership decline over the last year. Contract negotiations, which began on May 13th, have stalled as managers refuse to include anti-bullying language and diminish workers’ rights. Association of Field Service Employees (AFSE) President Sue Chase, which represents NEA’s national field organizers, issued the following statement:
“Over the last year, we have done our best to work collaboratively with new management to meet the goals of the organization. Unfortunately, we cannot seem to break through the new culture—one that rewards secrecy and divisiveness, instead of respect and cooperation. Mr. Stocks’ management team issued their “last, best, and final offer” last week even while negotiators were making progress at the table.
We are no strangers to this type of hostility. The truth is, we come across it every day when we’re on the front lines, supporting and fighting for NEA members. What we have witnessed is shocking: just like “so-called” reformers who want to rid public schools of skilled and experienced educators, unfortunately it seems NEA has the same vision for its field staff.
“Never before has AFSE worked this long without a contract, or has management been so antagonistic. When we entered this bargain we had hoped that Mr. Stocks—who was recently named chair of the Democracy Alliance—would support AFSE employees. After all, we have travelled the country, working tirelessly over the years to help NEA empower its leaders and grow the organization.
“We are dismayed by the reality. We don’t think it’s too much to ask that a social justice champion like Mr. Stocks honor the employees and the members of the organization by encouraging his management team to end bullying and support basic union values.
It is our sincere desire that when we return to the bargaining table with the federal mediator on July 28th that we will be able to settle a contract which supports the staff who work to support the everyday working heroes in America’s schools, colleges, and universities. Labor-management collaboration is in the best interest of all concerned.”
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CONTACT: Valerie Wilk, (703) 598-0427, firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Association of Field Service Employees-AFSE
Since 1973, the Association of Field Service Employees (AFSE) union representing field service employees of the National Education Association has been working to protect the rights and improve the working conditions of those NEA staff who advocate for NEA members in the field.