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Organizing efforts prepare both unions for successful negotiations

ESTA is building their winter bargain around BIS meetings and gathering member data

Teachers from two unions, Escondido Elementary Educators Association (EEEA) and Escondido Secondary Teachers Association (ESTA) are launching member engagement programs to strengthen their locals in preparation for the upcoming 2020 bargaining year.

EEEA and ESTA’s shared goal is to build strong, well-supported fall organizing campaigns around bargaining that channel local union power for the best contract possible in their negotiations this winter.

EEEA bargainers and leaders meet and plan BIS meetings at each school site

EEEA President Romero Maratea and the EEEA team are looking to build on the success of a recently-settled two-year contract after substantial leader and member investment. “We are launching our campaign off of the strength we built last year,” Maratea explained. “Our plan is to involve hundreds of members in this bargaining process from the very start, which will only make our union and our contract stronger.”

To carry out the plan, bargaining team members and leaders from both chapters will engage every member at their sites through scheduled Bargaining Input Sessions (BIS). This is a departure from the more traditional paper survey analysis. It will require bargaining team members, executive board members, and site reps to facilitate BIS union meetings at every site in the chapter in October.

During these sessions, members will brainstorm current issues and determine what they want to see in their next contract. Once interests are identified, members will then vote on their top priorities. Those priorities will be aggregated by the bargaining teams and executive boards and used to inform each union’s initial proposal. The effect means the initial proposal won’t just be the work of a handful of people; it will be hundreds of union members strong!

Both chapters believe their efforts will produce a contract proposal that is authentic and relevant; making members a potent part of supporting and defending it during upcoming negotiations.

President Anna Cady is encouraged by the early start their leadership team is making. “We’re doing our homework. Our members will drive our plan and will support each other for a successful settlement next spring.”