Organizing

Organizing

MEA’s power is in the collective strength of our 120,000 members.  From local school boards to the State Capitol and beyond, our collective action can advocate for the change our students and our colleagues need.

Want to organize with MEA? – If you work in a school employee group not represented by MEA but are interested in organizing with us, please call us at 800-292-1934 and ask for Organizing Consultant Jacob Louks (jlouks@mea.org).

Organizing News

New Resource Celebrates Labor, Highlights Inaugural Workplace Rights Week

To showcase the state's commitment to the labor movement and establish Michigan as a place for economic opportunity and prosperity for all, the Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) created a new online resource to celebrate, highlight and support the inaugural Workplace Rights Week, April 26 through May 1, as proclaimed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Michigan.gov/WorkplaceRights is a…

Legislative Councils: a case study in lobbying

When Ed Clements attends a dinner (or for now, a Zoom call) with other MEA members and their invited guest—a state representative or senator—he doesn’t expect the educators and politician will agree on everything. Sometimes they don’t agree on much. Yet the 22-year Bay City educator and current city commissioner keeps coming back for more of these events known as legislative councils.…

Union Presidents Lead through Unprecedented Crisis

What’s it like to be a local union president in the age of COVID? In this story, we talk with three local leaders in Macomb County—an urban hotspot in northern metro Detroit—who have employed every tool at their disposal to unite members and guide collective action through the most challenging circumstances in living memory. As in districts across the state,…

Finding Strength in Solidarity

By Brenda Ortega MEA Voice Editor MEA member Eric Curtiss thought he had a high number of students in his English classes last year when his numbers topped out at 144. This year he has 168, although the number fluctuates. Eric Curtiss Last year he had five preps, the most in his 22-year career. Now he has eight different courses…

Higher Ed Unions ‘Building a Bridge Over a Chasm’

In February, Martin McDonough became president of one of MEA’s largest local units—the Administrative Professional Association (APA) at Michigan State University. The next month, pandemic-related closures hit higher education in Michigan. Martin McDonough Formerly a shop steward in the pipefitters union and vice-president of the APA, McDonough knew that in times of crisis people feel especially grateful for the union.…

Virtual Schools Seek Digital ‘Foot in Door’

Kathy Bommarito worries that a decision this spring by the Avondale School District where she is union president could represent a foot in the door for online school vendors seeking to displace educators in the classroom. In May the Avondale School Board agreed to close Avondale Academy—named Michigan’s Alternative School of the Year in 2018—and replace it with a fully…

MEA Board of Directors on safe return to school

EAST LANSING — At an emergency meeting Tuesday evening, the MEA Board of Directors adopted the following motion regarding the association’s stance on a safe return to learning for students and educators this fall amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: MEA stands with all educators, who must be a part of creating and implementing return to school plans as well as bargaining…

MEA Locals Keep Safety at Forefront in Return to School Discussions

By Brenda Ortega MEA Voice Editor As president of the Grandville Education Association, Blake Mazurek knows that in normal times many members of his local union don’t notice what he and the leadership team do to bargain contracts, advocate for members, and navigate challenges. But everyone is paying attention now that he’s “getting into the weeds” alongside administrators as they…

Member-Organizers Make A Difference

Why I wanted to participate: My mother was a bus driver. My aunt’s a teacher. My grandmother’s a bus driver. They were all part of unions, so I’m from a union family. I believe in the strength in numbers, and I believe in advocacy. When I was a first-year teacher, I had some issues where the Minority Affairs Committee came in and helped me by observing me and giving me…

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