Organizing

What is Organizing?

The power of our union lies within the collective voice of our more than 7,000 members. Organizing means bringing people together around common issues so that we can improve our lives, the lives of our families, and the education of our students. When we unite around issues like healthcare and wages or stand together to stop furlough days and layoffs, we ensure that our voices are heard and that our rights are defended.

What Are Some Examples of School Site Organizing?

Examples of Subtle Pressure on Your Employer:

1. Discussing the issue at your school or worksite. Informal discussions of issues (particularly within earshot of an employer) can be quite effective.

2. Education. The general issue of the workplace can be the announced subject of lunchtime, before, or after work meetings. Flyers announcing such meetings are effective at getting the word out (both to members and management). Remember, it is almost always helpful to your organizing efforts if the administration is aware that people are talking about the issue.

3. Internal publicity. Use the union bulletin board to educate people about the issue (union bulletin boards are usually faithfully read by administrators and principals).

Examples of Direct Pressure on Your Employer:

1. Members on site, led by the AR, ask for a group meeting with management about the grievance. Even if the meeting is denied, you will have made the point that people know about the issue and are concerned.

2. Members wear a button, sticker or armband to express their solidarity behind the union’s grievance or position.

3. Everyone sign a letter or petition call for a swift and just resolution. Present the letter or petition as a group to the administrator.

What Are Some Examples of District-Wide Organizing?

SDEA’s District-wide organizing takes a variety of forms, ranging from petitions to rallies to bargaining and beyond. The results of our organizing efforts are a stronger District and stronger protections for educators.

SDEA’s continued organizing efforts will only be as strong as the involvement of our members. In order to ensure that we have a fair working and learning environment for educators and students, every SDEA member must be knowledgeable, active and organized! To learn more about what you can do to help build a stronger union, contact an SDEA Field Organizer.

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How Can I Organize My Charter School?

For our unorganized fellow teachers in charter schools throughout San Diego organizing means no longer being an at-will employee, earning a living wage, and having a real voice in the work you do. If you have questions about organizing your charter school, please contact SDEA.

Our Power at Work: Organizing and the Grievance Process

At each school teachers democratically elect Association Representatives (ARs) who are trained to help process grievances and strengthen our union through organizing.

An Association Representative will:

  1. Answer your questions about the contract.
  2. Tell you who can help you with your school programs.
  3. Advise you on how to resolve a school problem.
  4. Go with you to talk to your principal.
  5. Help you file a grievance, if informal methods fail to resolve a problem.

If at any time you feel that you have a work-related problem or a question about the contract, your first point of contact is your SDEA Association Representative. Our power as a union rests in our ability to educate ourselves about our contractual rights, communicate with our colleagues about issues at our site, and organize to address those issues together!