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Good Reasons to Join Your Union

There are 150,000 good reasons to belong to FEA — the 150,000 members who make up the strongest voice for public education in Florida.

Here are a few more reasons to become a member of your local union and the Florida Education Association:

  1. A commitment to excellence: Your local union and FEA are communities of colleagues dedicated to being our best for all of Florida’s students. We demand the most of ourselves, each other and our profession.
  1. Professional growth and development: Through FEA conferences, meetings, trainings and communications you are connected to other teachers, public employees and educators across the state and nation. You have the opportunity to grow as an educator by collaborating with colleagues in your district, across the state and around the country.
  1. A Voice on the job: Union workers have the right to negotiate with their employer over wages, hours, benefits and working conditions. Without a union, management makes all decisions alone. Without collective bargaining, Florida teachers and education staff professionals (ESPs) would have no legal rights at all under the state’s “right to work” labor laws.
  1.  Your union contract: From wages to health insurance, performance pay to evaluations, nearly every part of our work life is covered by the contract your union bargains with your employer. The bigger and stronger our union, the better the contract we can negotiate. Local members decide what gets proposed, elect their own bargaining team, negotiate and vote to approve the contract. Local bargaining teams benefit from being part of a statewide organization with ongoing access to FEA bargaining specialists, staff and other local unions.
  1. We’ve got each other’s back: Your union is an important part of protecting Florida’s middle class by fighting for fair pay and benefits and protecting workers from being abused and disrespected at their jobs. Your contractual and legal rights, working conditions and employment will be aggressively defended.
  1. Safe learning, teaching and working environments: Through their contract and collective action, union members have the assurance that their workplace rights, including health and safety conditions, are being upheld and monitored and ensure the ability to challenge unfair or questionable decisions or actions.
  1.  Member benefits that help save you money: In addition to fighting for fair salaries and benefits, your union offers a range of discount programs that help educators stretch their hard-earned dollars. Through the buying power of our two national affiliates you are eligible for big discounts on insurance, home financing and everyday purchases.
  1. Democracy: This is your union. Your local union and FEA are grassroots organizations run by and for their members. Every member has a vote and unrestricted access to every level of union governance: local, state and national. Working together, our unions are what we make them.
  1. Membership in a movement: Your local union is part of a vast national movement of educators dedicated to student success, opportunity and excellence. Joining your local union connects you directly to that movement. Your local union membership includes membership in the Florida Education (FEA), FEA’s national affiliates, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). The unions that make up the AFL-CIO represent 12.5 million working men and women.

Unions fought — and continue to fight — hard for many aspects of everyday life that are now taken for granted. From leading the charge for a forty-hour work week to securing pensions from fighting for workplace safety to ensuring a living wage, working women and men have a long and proud history of fighting for a better world.

Sadly, educators in Florida — and around the nation — have seen a concerted attack on those hard-fought advances.

But looking at the lessons from those who’ve fought successfully before us can serve as a guide now on how to reclaim the promise of public education. Through collective action we can achieve the salaries that professional educators deserve, a comfortable retirement, and respect and dignity on the job.

Visit the FEA Voter Toolkit

The November 8 General Election is just around the corner and education will be a central issue during this critical election season. The FEA Voter Toolkit has election resources and endorsed candidates for local school Boards, the Florida House and Florida Senate, and Governor.

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