NEAFT MERGER CAUCUS TAKES OFF
August 7, 2008
In the TeacherTalk
How exhilarating it was to learn that not only are there numbers of union
leaders who believe deeply in the benefits to accrue from a merger of the NEA
and AFT but are also willing to work to make a merger happen.
I’m delighted to report that the NEAFT Merger Caucus is off to an
astonishing start. In
literally a matter of weeks, we have reached out to leaders in both the NEA and
AFT, held a series of meetings at the national conventions of each, selected a
steering committee of myself, Gregg Solkovitz
of United Teachers of Los Ageles, Ken Tray of United
Educators of San Francisco, and Jeff Greenfield
of the MEA-MFT, the Montana merged state affiliate.
We have established a dues structure and have close to 100 dues paying
members plus a longer e-mail list of those who took the time and trouble to come
to a meeting and express an interest. We’ve
elected Paul Pecorale of Patchogue-Medford as our treasurer and have the
beginnings of a webpage ( ).
We will shortly be publishing an
e-newsletter, conceived as a vehicle for spreading the overwhelmingly positive
experiences of the state and local affiliates that have already merged.
Not a bad start for an organization that got off the ground in the first
week of June.
We have begun to develop plans to further our outreach to local leaders throughout the country. We aim to be a presence at as many meetings held by the NEA and AFT as possible, looking for opportunities to engage leaders closest to our membership about the potentially huge benefit of having one union, four million strong, with one powerful voice speaking to the issues surrounding public education. Compared to what the achievement of that goal would mean for the millions of public school employees, the needs of national leaders, national union bureaucracies, seemingly important philosophical differences and past enmities all pale. What is clearly more important is doing an even better job representing our members. We can do that, more powerfully and efficiently by harnessing the best of the NEA and AFT into an organization with a coherent vision of how to raise the academic standards and achievement of our public schools and the muscle of four million members working together to achieve that vision.
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