Congratulations! This is an important first step in getting involved. You’ll be helping the rest of the teacher’s across our district work to improve the education’s of our students and the working conditions of our teachers.
A building rep is the heart and soul of a union. In the case of the CEA, educators will come to you about questions, problems, and issues that they need help with. Sometimes you’ll just need to be a good listener and other times you’ll need to sit in a room when a teacher needs representation with an administrator.
Check this out, this is where we’re trying to go: http://realparentpower.com/
Again worth watching: http://annenberginstitute.org/project/parent-power
Regular attendance at membership and Building Rep meetings is critical. Read the contract, ask questions, read the CEA updates, president’s corner, B.O.D. reports, as well as all emails and mailings you receive.
Try different ways to communicate what you know to the members. When you hear interesting ideas from a member, or you hear many members are concerned about a particular issue, communicate that knowledge back to the CEA leadership and staff so we can act on it.
Communication is a two way street and you are a crucial link.
Lead by positive example If you tell the members to go to the monthly membership meeting —but you don’t go yourself —the message you send is that membership meetings may not be that important after all. If the contract requires that you be at your post at X:00 and you’re walking in the door at X:05, that makes us all look bad.
Be an organizer.
Know the people in your building you can count on to get out the word on important issues to create an active union network. Don’t just go through the motions of distributing and posting materials. Enlist the help of others whenever possible. The method you choose to communicate is indicative of the importance of that message. A face to face conversation is much more memorable than another email in the inbox.
We need you to monitor day-to-day school activities and keep members informed about how union policy impacts their working lives. You will gain skills in all these areas through training, practice, and experience. But know that you can always seek out assistance from the CEA staff and leadership to help you improve your effectiveness.
Be a Friend
A bit corny, but it’s incredibly important. The CEA is nothing more or less than a collection of all of us sharing our common hopes and aspirations. Alone and isolated we are just employees. Together, we are 1,100 strong.