Member engagement is vital to a strong union, says Darien Building Rep Katy Gale. When members are more engaged, she explains, they feel empowered and capable of effecting change.
“My local has taken member engagement really seriously,” the fifth grade Hindley Elementary teacher says. “We have made it a point to meet one-on-one with almost every member and really listen to them and hear about what’s important to them. Now we can move forward and develop a plan to meet everyone’s needs.”
Gale describes the one-on-one conversations, which open up the lines of communication and strengthen relationships between members and local Association leaders, as “phenomenal.”
She encourages other union leaders, “If you haven’t done it in your local, do it.”
With so much competing for teachers’ time and attention, Gale says she makes sure her members know, “The union isn’t me. The union isn’t our CEA President Sheila Cohen. The union is all of us working together.”
As a building rep, Gale makes sure teachers are informed about the issues that affect them in their school, district, town, state, and nationally. With an important election coming up this fall, Gale reminds members about the power they have to elect pro-public education candidates.
“It’s so important for teachers to get out and vote in November because we will be electing the people who represent us and the families of the students we teach,” Gale says.
She adds, “We have the power to elect people who can do right by public schools and by the communities that we live in. That’s on us.”
If you are looking for assistance with one-on-ones or training in teacher organizing, contact your local president, CEA UniServ Representative, or CEA Training and Organizational Developmental Specialist Joe Zawawi.
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