During the pre-service week in Baltimore County before students returned to school, I had the opportunity to do back to school building visits with some of the most engaged and excited building representatives and members. These visits were part of a coordinated 10-minute meeting plan that had state and local leaders, staff, and members working together to run meetings in 140 schools over four days.
These meetings were opportunities to welcome educators back to school, share exciting news about significant contract wins over the preceding 14 months, map out a member action plan to support the local’s bargaining team, and raise critical political action committee funds for upcoming board of education elections. The members engaged, information provided, volunteers recruited, and dollars raised were all small steps towards our big goals of being a union fighting and delivering for members.
My experience in Baltimore County was not unique. These types of union meetings were happening across the state. They may have had different goals to build awareness or strength, but they were all focused on connecting with members and listening to building-level concerns. We know that to do big things at the local, state, and national levels we must have an informed and engaged membership that is ready to use the power we’ve built to achieve the goals we’ve set together.
From bargaining salary improvements and career ladders to passing new laws to protect and enhance union rights and supporting pro-public education candidates for boards of education, we have a big year ahead of us. One member, one meeting, one building, and one step at a time will get us to where we need to be to win at the bargaining table, in the chambers of the General Assembly, and at the ballot box in 2024.
Thank you to everyone involved with organizing back-to-school meetings to start the year and to all of the members who attended and made their commitments to help build our union. We are union strong!