Our Strength Is In Our Members
July 1, 2013
Dear SEA Members,
I hope you are enjoying your summer break and finding time to rest and recharge batteries. As I begin my term as President of SEA, I want to take a few moments to share some thoughts and personal goals as they relate to SEA.
Let me start by thanking Alex Anguiano for his leadership of SEA for 8 out of the last 10 years and his many more years of service to our union. I’m grateful for his support and mentorship. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last few years:
- After 6 years of financial crisis and State cuts we gave up only 3 furlough days.
- We dealt the financial crisis by increasing our student contacts and saved the district $13 million per year. There is one year left on this agreement.
- In 2014 the district’s contribution to our health benefits will significantly increase.
These are all victories that we achieved at the bargaining table and were approved by members.
Our successes have not come easily. Members have experienced disruptive and stressful annual unnecessary RIFs . The adult school ranks have been decimated. For years now we’ve been asked to do more with less: more responsibilities, more students and more accountability. At the same time we have less autonomy over how we teach, less authority and less support from administration and the district. To top it off, we haven’t seen a raise in years. Lastly, as the media constantly reminds us, we’ve suffered from a crisis of leadership at the very top of the District for years.
Therefore, we must continue doing those things we do well, such as bargaining and advocating for our members. Additionally we must increase our sense of collective power to take back our profession. SEA leadership needs to learn more about member priorities and what you value. We know salary, benefits and working conditions, are always important. However, as a union, we must find ways to always support and assert our professionalism and expertise. This will require a serious long-term dialogue between all SEA members.
In my vision of SEA, when facing a challenge, members would always ask the question “What are WE going to do about it?” There is so much power in our collective action, we need to recognize this, nurture it and develop it. I’m committed to work towards a union that reflects and is driven by the values of our members.
I look forward to working with our Board of Directors, Reps and members to increase member engagement for an even more successful SEA.