Unions and Collective Bargaining

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Unions of all kinds are currently under political attack. Public employee unions are especially under fire, as we have seen in Wisconsin and now in other states. As members of public employee unions, teachers are particularly aware of the risks inherent in allowing such attacks to go unchallenged.

Those of us involved in organizing the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action recognize the importance of the right to unionize for all employees. States, which have unionized work forces, have higher standards of living, and higher performance on various academic measures. Indeed, the nation with the most consistent performance on international comparisons of student performance, Finland, has a teacher corps that is almost completely unionized.

But this is not just about teachers. It is about police, firefighters and nurses. It is about all workers who wish to organize and collectively bargain on productive working conditions, safety and compensation including benefits.

This is not just about adults, either. Poverty is one of the major factors undermining student achievement in America. By empowering employees to improve their working conditions and pay, collective bargaining rights help to stabilize and strengthen families and communities. That, in turn, boosts the social and financial support available to students and schools. The interests of schools, students, teachers, families, and communities are all connected. Attempts to reform schools without simultaneously strengthening communities have a long history of failure– a history that we need to reverse.

For these reasons, we fully support the right of all workers to participate in unions, and for unions to have the right to organize and to represent their membership, including through collective bargaining.

Click on the title link Save Our Schools Endorsers to view a list of unions that have endorsed our effort. We hope also to gain the support of unions outside of education.

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