Your union is a member-driven professional organization that brings together teachers and education staff professionals like you looking to grow as educators. Members learn from and support one another.
Your union starts with you.
For many of us education isn’t just a job — it’s a calling. Becoming a member of your union is a foundational part of your drive for professional excellence.
As a professional educator dedicated to the future of public schools, you demand the most of yourself, your colleagues and your profession. Your passion and commitment make a difference.
You work every day to improve the lives of the students you serve and to help them reach their full potential. You’re a year-round advocate for your students, your school, your co-workers and your state.
Four million members like you make up the local, state and national organizations you become a part of by joining your local union. But it all starts with you.
You’ve joined your local union to take ownership of your profession and have a voice in the decisions that affect your career.
Your local union is made up of talented, passionate and devoted public school teachers and education staff professionals — just like you.
It is a grassroots organization run by and for its members — who work together to make sure every student has access to high-quality public education.
Your local union is one of more than 100 local groups from Key West to Pensacola that make up the FEA.
Founded in 1886, the Florida Education Association is now the largest union in the state of Florida, representing nearly 150,000 teachers, education staff professionals, higher education faculty, graduate assistants, education students and retired educators.
FEA is proud to be your statewide union. Together we are the strongest voice for quality public education in Florida.
Florida is one of five “merged” states, meaning that FEA members belong to — and benefit from the combined resources of — both national education unions, with a combined membership of 4 million educators.
The American Federation of Teachers was founded in 1916 and today represents 1.7 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide.
The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, has 3 million members and affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.
Unity and solidarity! AFT, FEA and FEA-affiliated local unions are part of national, state and regional labor federations.
The AFL-CIO is the umbrella federation for unions in the U.S., with 56 unions representing 12.5 million working men and women. The Florida AFL-CIO unites more than 500 local unions and labor councils, representing more than 1 million workers, retirees and their families. Most FEA-affiliated local unions are also part of one of nine Central Labor Councils throughout Florida — regional bodies that connect workers from different trades, workplaces and cities.
What We Accomplish by Working Together
Acting alone we can only do so much. But being active and engaged in your union gives you a powerful say in the future of teaching, learning and our public schools. We know that we can affect real change when we come together and take collective action.
- Collective Bargaining
- Organizing for the Schools our Students Deserve
- Member Advocacy and Representation
- A Statewide Commitment
Below are just a few key ways union members work together to ensure opportunity, success and quality public education for our students.
Educators’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions. From wages to health insurance, performance pay to evaluations, paid leave to duty-free lunch our working conditions are covered by the contract your union bargains with the district. Your local negotiating team is made up of dedicated members like you, with direct input from members like you. Each local team benefits from working closely with other FEA unions and FEA bargaining specialists throughout the year to negotiate a contract that promotes and protects excellence in our public schools for students and educators alike.
Organizing for the Schools our Students Deserve
Our students are at the center of everything we do. Your local union and FEA fight for funding, proper staffing and the resources educators need to unlock and inspire each child’s natural curiosity, imagination and love of learning.
FEA leaders and staff work with local unions to build member capacity, leadership and, most importantly, power to demand and work for the schools our students deserve. In order for students to have the schools they deserve, educators must take back control of the profession from lawmakers in Tallahassee. Member-to-member organizing and building power locally are crucial steps to reaching the goal of ensuring that all of Florida’s students attend the well-funded, well-resourced and fully-staffed schools they deserve.
Working to Keep Students, Schools and Educators Safe
Covid-19 brought unprecedented challenges to our schools and worksites last school year. But amid the chaos and uncertainty, FEA members and their unions fought to provide each student with the best possible education while maintaining safety for students and staff alike.
When federally mandated paid leave for Covid-19 expired on Jan. 1, 2021, local unions from around the state were able to secure an extension of Covid leave for the rest of the school-year through collective bargaining.
As parents, students and educators alike struggled to find out specifics of Covid spread in their school communities due to the lack of transparency from school districts and the Florida Department of Health, FEA established a Safe Schools Report on our website (www.feaweb.org/ssr). This site served as a portal where people could submit information about what was happening at their school and was the place to get the most comprehensive information about the spread of Covid in Florida’s public schools leading to multiple news outlets using the Safe Schools Report in their local reporting.
Even in the best of times standardized tests and Florida’s system of school accountability are fraught with problems that mask the true issues that need to be addressed to help ensure all of Florida’s students are successful. Making high-stakes decisions based off of this year’s testing, however, would present an entirely new level of unfairness to Florida’s students and educators.
FEA worked with legislators in the House and Senate to sponsor bills which would completely pause the accountability system for the 2020-21 school year, and while we did not get everything our students and educators deserved, we were able to pause certain punitive measures including:
- A pause on school grades, except for schools that request them.
- A pause on consequences for students from high-stakes testing including the following:
- FSA scores could not be used as the sole factor to retain a student in third grade.
- Graduation requirements related to passing standardized tests were waived.
- End-of-course (EOC) exams, which typically make up 30% of a student’s final grade in courses with a mandated EOC, were not required to be included in a student’s final grade.
This school year — which was like no other — serves as a great example of what we can accomplish though solidarity and working together with one purpose. As we start the 2021-22 school year, we can grow our strength as we continue to fight for the schools that Florida’s students deserve.
Member Advocacy and Representation
Every day, members work together to solve problems and address workplace and worksite issues big and small. FEA also protects your employment rights with both emergency and long-term legal services should you ever need them. Members can access the best and most comprehensive free legal program of any professional association in the state:
Legal Services Programs: FEA provides legal services to members in employment-related legal matters — including representation in certification actions brought by the Department of Education — in accordance with the Unified Legal Services Program (ULSP) guidelines.
Educators Employment Liability (EEL) Policy: The EEL policy provides insurance coverage for members for incidents arising out of their employment. The policy generally provides:
- Legal defense costs up to $3 million per member per occurrence (not including civil rights claims/issues).
- Liability coverage up to $1 million per member per occurrence (not including civil rights claims/issues).
- Liability coverage for civil rights claims/issues up to $300,000 per member per occurrence.
The program also reimburses up to $1,000 of a bail bond premium and up to $35,000 in defense costs in criminal proceedings if the member is exonerated or the charge is dropped. If the criminal proceeding is the result of the use of corporal punishment, the reimbursement may be made regardless of the outcome. Members can access a copy of the EEL policy on the logged-in page of the FEA website (www.feaweb.org/member-center/myfea-account), then scrolling down to member resources.
Attorney Referral Program (ARP): The ARP helps members obtain personal legal services at a reduced cost. Administered through a national network of law firms, the program allows members to receive legal services at rates below their usual fees. Members are entitled to a free, 30-minute initial consultation with an attorney per program year and up to a 30 percent discount for legal work performed in many areas, such as family law, traffic matters, wills and estate planning, and criminal law.
The United Voice of Educators in Tallahassee
Very few Tallahassee politicians have spent time in front of a classroom or have worked in a school, but they want to control how you perform every aspect of your job. To take just one example, Tallahassee interference with teacher pay has created a situation where many veteran teachers are making the same salary as the new teacher they are mentoring.
Fortunately, school districts budgets are not seeing the massive funding cuts due to Covid-19 that were initially projected for the 2021-22 school year. As importantly, stimulus programs from the federal government will provide school districts with much needed funds to help deal with the financial burden created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recovering from over a decade of financial disinvestment in our public schools won’t be easy, but we are committed to this fight. To that end, FEA maintains a vigilant presence at the Capitol, employing a team of full-time lobbyists who work with our member activists and legislators to monitor, influence or change legislation that impacts our students and schools. But nothing is more important than our local unions forming relationships with their elected officials. Rank and file members like you engaging with your legislators on issues that impact you and your students is a vital part of FEA’s ability to influence change in Tallahassee. Reach out to your local president to see how you can get more involved in this very important work.
As long as we remain united and speak with one voice, FEA and its members can ensure that the financial investment in Florida’s public schools made in the last legislative session is protected and expanded. Now, more than ever before, we have the opportunity to work with parents and community groups to demand our legislators provide the funding Florida’s students and public schools deserve.
A Statewide Commitment
In addition to the programs and services above, our FEA departments work daily with members and the more than 100 local unions and service units throughout the state.
- Public Policy & Advocacy: FEA’s legislative specialists work to promote and pass good education policy — and defeat harmful legislation. PPA works with members statewide to elect pro-public education representatives.
- Professional Development & Educational Research: Works with local unions to provide members access to in-person and virtual trainings throughout the year.
- Organizing & Field Services: Local, regional and state staff work with local unions to bargain contracts, represent members, develop leadership, promote member benefits, recruit new members and build power.
- Legal Services: Provides members with a full range of emergency and long-term legal services. FEA’s in-house attorneys help with everything from disciplinary actions to certification, retirement and disability disputes.
- Information Technology: Provides support and guidance to more than 400 users statewide.
- Human Resources: Helps assure that the highest quality employees represent and serve you locally and in Tallahassee.
- Financial Services: Our financial services staff ensure that FEA acts as a faithful steward of your hard-earned dues dollars.
- Communications: Our staff produce materials and work with national, state and local unions and media outlets to shine a light on the work of our members in and outside the classroom.