The National Education Association Staff Organization (NEASO), the union that represents employees who work in the National Education Association’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., authorized a strike yesterday in a secret ballot. The reason for the strike (which will begin on a date not yet public) is that NEA executives have demanded that staff agree to a contract that includes 5% pay cuts and reduction in pension and healthcare benefits.
Ninety-eight percent of NEASO members voted “yes” for the strike.
NEASO’s President Robin McLean said, “We refuse to back down from management’s anti-union tactics that fly in the face of NEA values and the entire labor movement.” And, ““Let us make this clear: NEA is the largest union in the country, and its managers are asking staff to accept stagnant pay now and well into the future at a time when inflation and the cost of living are skyrocketing.”
Politico says this job action represents a “tricky situation” for NEA President Becky Pringle, who leads the 3 million member union.
NEASO also launched a website that itemizes their contract demands and features staff members’ sentiments. A few examples:
There is no stronger voice or advocate for our nation’s educators and the students they serve than the National Education Association. Our staff see the work as more than a job; we see working for the country’s largest labor union as a calling. And yet, the leaders who run our proud union are using the very same crony corporate playbook against us that we work so hard to dismantle.
Over the course of a career in labor relations that now spans three Brood X periodical cicada visits and 400-500 contract negotiations, the closest thing that I have seen to NEA’s behavior in this round of bargaining is when the Tea Party started taking over school boards and tried, sometimes successfully, to break the union.
I think one of the questions we have to ask is, ‘is it okay to work under a set of values and respect for the members we serve and not demand the same from the organization that employs us?’
NEA leaders should practice what they preach and value their own employees.
I’m ready to strike because it’s past time for NEA to respect the staff and the work that we do. Currently, it is impossible for staff to get to the top of the salary schedule if they’re not already there. I’m ready to strike because NEA wants me to walk away from the table with less than I have now. They’re telling me that I’m not worth the salary and benefits I’ve earned.