We believe that our union should reflect five union frameworks:
1) Labor Union: Unions were created to ensure that workers were treated fairly and with respect. It is critical to advocate for the working and retirement conditions that will enable us to best serve our students and communities. We believe in collective bargaining, the right of all workers to form unions, and the need for organized labor to work collectively to improve working and living conditions for all.
2) Professional Union: Our union must be synonymous with instructional and professional expertise. We believe that as a union, we must advocate for high professional standards, quality professional learning, and the promotion of research-based instructional practices. We are highly skilled and highly qualified professionals and working to advance our profession.
3) Social Justice Union: Our union is also committed to advocating for economic and racial justice, and for policies that will address poverty and other social ills. We believe we must work to create a society in which all have access to quality healthcare, affordable housing, good jobs, and a good education.
4) Organizing Union: In order to achieve our goals, we must be structured to negotiate and enforce a strong contract, and also to organize and empower our members to fight for our students, our profession, our schools, and our communities. We must work alongside our students, families, and community members to do so.
5) Democratic Union: Our union must be transparent and our leaders must work to fully engage our membership in decision-making and in establishing collective priorities and strategies. Our union must be member-led, responsive, and communicative, and our members must be adequately informed so that they can fully participate. We support implementing a strategic plan and review that will look at union resources and how they should be used to meet the needs of the membership.
In addition to these five union frameworks, we agree with the Mission Statement from the United Caucuses of Rank and File Educators (UCORE) and stand in solidarity with our union brothers and sisters across the country:
We are social justice educators and unionists committed to creating schools and workplaces that advance economic justice, racial justice, and democracy. We call for equitable public education as a human right. We assert that the workplace rights of educators are an essential element of public education and that the well-being of communities in which our children live is as much a part of our mission as the work we do in our schools.
To that end, we join under these core principles:
· Public schools should be sites of creativity, imagination, and critical questioning in which students, educators, and parents work together to create meaningful learning experiences.
· Every student deserves an education grounded in trust, respect for diversity, and opportunities for joyful engagement in the world.
· Workplace justice and education justice are both vitally important and inexorably linked.
· Every educator deserves autonomy, respect, trust, economic security, and the time and resources to develop and enact a rich and varied curriculum.
· Our work requires and flourishes within democratic workspaces in which all workers are economically secure, their knowledge and expertise is respected, and all voices are heard.
· Our work as union members includes advocating and organizing for the above at the bargaining table, in our schools, and in our communities.
· We strive for member-driven unions at the local, state, and national levels.
· Our work as unionists extends beyond the classroom to include advocacy for economic and racial justice within our communities.
· We call for equitable and adequate funding for public schools. Without this our words cannot become reality.
· We commit ourselves to the struggle to defend public education against the multitude of attacks it is facing.