A big ‘thank you’ to MEA members from the Pontiac EA

Editor’s note: MEA members from across Michigan stepped up to help the students and educators of the Pontiac School District. In response to a critical school supply shortage caused by education funding cuts, MEA coordinated the donation and delivery on Feb. 16 of more than $12,000 in cash and gift cards, as well as thousands of dollars more in school supplies.

By Aimee McKeever, President of the Pontiac Education Association

In the past several months, my membership in Pontiac has faced many issues, from lack of classroom supplies, to the fear of losing their medical insurance, to possible payless paydays. When my members have asked me “What is MEA doing for us?” and “What am I getting for my dues dollars?”

I was able to show them on Feb. 16, where at the UAW Local 653 hall in Pontiac, there were many, many tables of classroom materials for teachers and students, as well as monetary donations for the expense of copy paper and toner.

In addition to this, Pontiac Education Association members had the full emotional support of MEA members throughout the state, who stood behind us, supported us, encourage us and helped us out when we asked.

What is MEA doing for us? What do we get for our dues dollars? PEA gets MEA staff members in the local office who respond to the calls for help. 

What is MEA doing for us? What do we get for our dues dollars? PEA gets MEA officers who, at a moment’s notice, respond to a need to have them appear before the membership. These officers continue to offer any and all assistance and words of encouragement to the membership to keep doing what they do best — educate children.

What is MEA doing for us? What do we get for our dues dollars? PEA gets the support of many departments at MEA Headquarters, including a legal department to file the unfair labor practice complaints when the district violates our contract, and a Professional Development and Human Rights department with professional staff who offer numerous ideas and resources to the membership. 

What is MEA doing for us? What do we get for our dues dollars? PEA gets the support from the union coalition we have developed — specifically from UAW International and UAW Local 653, whose members stepped up to assist with materials, the use of the local hall and a monetary donation. 

What is MEA doing for us? What am I getting for my dues dollars? PEA gets support from local PTAs and retired members, who collected materials, donated cash and volunteered within our classrooms.

As the local president, I’ve attempted to relieve the stress and concerns of my members. I’ve shared our Pontiac story with others, to hopefully prevent similar crises from happening in other communities. Along the way, I’ve received the greatest support in emails and phone calls, along with the hugs and handshakes of encouragement at local, region and state functions. Thank you especially to Rick Trainor, MEA’s secretary-treasurer for organizing the supply drive — it was truly a great success.

The Pontiac Education Association wishes to thank all of the members within the MEA family for all you have done for our membership and the students of Pontiac. We will persevere and we will succeed!