The Slate Responds:
As REA members seeking election to REA leadership, our slate wants to express our thoughts about the action our REA General Membership took on Monday 1/25/21.
We applaud the courage and thoughtfulness of members during debate, and are sorry not everyone’s questions got answered.
Are you wondering: What action has our membership approved? What will this look like? What does the School Board know? What can/should we say to families and students? How do we support members who don’t agree with or don’t understand the action we approved on Monday?
As many more questions are coming our way, our Slate wants to EMPOWER you as REA members to make our union’s position statement and related actions possible; this will not be easy, but we believe that through solidarity and collaboration, we can make it happen.
Our Slate recognizes that any adopted action to pressure our district to reverse such an important decision comes with huge responsibilities for our union leadership. We need support to prepare members for our next steps, provide messaging to all stakeholders (especially our students and families) and to reach out to any members who may disagree with the action; combined these tasks assure solidarity across the union and thus SUCCESS when our position statement is carried out. A growing concern looming in our minds as a slate is: Will the action, if not planned for carefully, create divisions among members or even cause long term harm for REA? We care about our union and will do all we can to prevent this.
We believe the adopted action, if successful, WILL SAVE LIVES, and we believe REA leadership must continue to strengthen the democratic processes that have been demonstrated so far in this pandemic. We must increase member education and build our community’s awareness on the science and instructional implications of the district’s return to in-person plan and COVID19. We must build upon our Bargaining Process through effective Labor Management and other structures to ensure our voices are respected as equal partners in the district’s decision-making from here on.
We will do all we can to support organizing in our Saturday listening session, but it can’t stop there. We need:
Immediate planning for union-led Community & Family Listening Sessions (with interpreters in multiple languages) centered on educators sharing their concerns with the district’s plan requiring educators to return to in-person learning conditions; and
Abundant time on the Monday 2/1 Rep Council agenda to plan supports for building reps, building safety leaders, and other REA leaders to conduct the one-on-one conversations that are required to build solidarity amongst members who may disagree or don’t recognize the importance of their participation effective implementation of our action; and
A members only password protected page on the REA website designed to collect members’ comments, questions, and messaging examples to support for our collective communication with each other and to hone our message with the broader community; and
Immediate planning for additional actions. We need our REA leadership to set up zoom meetings and invite all the members who signed up on the Organizing Strategies Google Doc to begin this work as soon as possible; this work will build the foundational plans and messages we need to make any action successful. This weekend should be spent planning our ground game with as many members as possible leading the work.
Demand RSD disclose where the MILLION$ of CARES Act money is/was used. While the district has callously forced elementary educators back, claiming student needs are at the heart of their decision, we must question their priorities and interests.
Other ideas? SHARE WITH US!
Always in Solidarity,
Julianna Dauble for President
Melissa Figge for Special Services Rep.
Garth Ball for Middle School Rep.
Natasha Sommers for Primary Rep.