It’s Like a Gym Membership. You Gotta Use Your Union Card to Get the Rewards.

Free legal consultation at a local attorney’s office? Who knew? Here are 5 ways to get the most out of your membership.

  1. BE A PLAYER. You know what’s working and what isn’t. Change happens through a powerful voice. Get in the game.

· Ask questions — find out who the players are. Click here to see MSEA’s Board of Directors. Click here to visit your local website.

· Make your move. Check your local or MSEA calendar. Attend a meeting.

· Something on your mind? Reach out to the association rep in your building. Take the pulse of your colleagues to gauge interest. Bring up your issue at a meeting of your local association.

2. GET THE FACTS Like all good systems, there’s leadership and structure. Find out what it is. Then work to influence it.

· Read “Public Education Needs a Voice from the Frontlines” and learn why and how your union works.

· Click here to learn about who’s in your union, what we’ve achieved for students and educators, and answers to some FAQs.

· Vote in the internal MSEA election beginning January 30 — you’ll receive an email reminder when voting opens. Click here to see the largest number of candidates running for office in recent history. (Note to self: Think about running next year!)

3.USE THE UNION for access to the legislators in Annapolis and elected officials in your county who call the shots. We can help you get in the door.

· Want to improve your working conditions, salary, benefits, and the programs offered in your county? Your first stop is most likely local elected officials — those people making decisions on education issues in your county are members of your board of education, county council, or commission. Your local association will help you connect with them.

· If they don’t know what’s broken, they can’t fix it. Come to Annapolis for Lobby Night every Monday during the General Assembly (January 11–April 10) and help set the record straight on education issues. You’ll get help getting in to see your elected leaders plus a quick primer on lobbying. Call your local for scheduling help.

4. USE THE SYSTEM to build leadership skills, test a theory, or get free professional development.

· Interested in National Board Certification? We’ve got a training for that. Leadership skills? We’ve got a training for that too. Workshops designed especially for education support professionals, minorities, women, or new educators? Check. Take advantage of these trainings — and many more — that are yours with membership.

· Get up to $5,000 to participate in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes, conferences, or action research, or for collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson plan development, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff. Look for funding through NEA’s grants program here.

· Check in to Newsfeed to see what’s happening, learn about education policy trends, find out where you can help, and get tips on professional practice from other educators.

5. C’MON! USE THE BENEFITS! There are more great benefits than that $1 million liability insurance policy.

· Have a personal legal question? MSEA offers two FREE 30-minute appointments per year with a local attorney. Learn more and see the list of attorneys statewide here.

· Make sure you sign up for the sick leave bank negotiated by your local bargaining team. Contact your local to learn more.

· Check your local’s website or ask your building rep for a list of local business who support educators with special discounts.

· Check out NEA Member Benefits for deals and discounts on retail and financial programs, including credit cards, auto and home insurance, and more. You’ll need to log in to see all the goodies.