I had the opportunity last week to participate in Kenosha EA's
"Building Blitz" and it was a great experience!
What is a "Blitz?" It is a concerted, concentrated effort to speak to every single member and potential member in a Local. For Kenosha, that's a heavy lift! With over 30 buildings and 2,000 teachers and paraprofessionals, it's quite an undertaking to make contact with everyone IN ONE WEEK. And so, with support from WEAC and NEA, over 20 staff (like me) were brought in to help.
Why on earth would we try such a big project? We want to talk to current members to find out what concerns them and share what the union is doing so that they can join in the efforts. We want to talk to potential members to find out what is holding them back from joining the only organization that works for what's best for our students in our community. Our goal certainly, is to increase membership, but it is also to ENGAGE people in the cause.
In Region 3, we have only a couple of Locals that approach the size of Kenosha EA, so the idea of a Building Blitz is not so intimidating. Regardless of size, if you'd like to explore this idea, please contact your Regional Director for more information. You can also send an
email to start the discussion.
Staff Liaison to WR3 Membership / PR Committee
"The Connection: Membership Edition" is the brainchild of Region 3's Membership and PR Committee: Greg Ubbelohde (New Holstein EA) & Kandace Larsen (Marinette EA) are the co-chairs and welcome new committee members at any time! We all hope you find this once-a-month publication inspiring and helpful!
Are you retiring this year? Do you know someone who is retiring this year?
The WEAC membership year is September 1st through August 31st, and even though you are "leaving" active employment in June, there is an obligation to continue paying dues through the end of August.
Not only does this commitment to membership support your active colleagues, it provides you with access to union resources and support to ensure you are treated fairly and that your employer upholds its commitments related to your retirement.
Here are some resources to share with the newest class of retirees:
Cancellation of your current WEAC membership requires a signed letter sent to the Membership Department. Here is a sample letter that can be mailed or scanned and emailed to email@example.com.
Retirees should consider enrolling in WEAC-Retired. Membership can be a one-time payment. Here is a brochure detailing the benefits and an enrollment form.
Term life insurance offered through NEA can be increased at a very competitive rate and remains in place as long as you are an active or retired member. Here is a handout and insurance registration form that explains all the details of this important benefit.
Tip of the Month
The Ten-Minute Meeting
All too often we hear, "there's no reason to hold a meeting if there's nothing to report/decide/vote on." Or, we hear, "I'm not sure we have a union because there are never any meetings." But mostly, we hear, "I don't have TIME to go to ANOTHER meeting."
In December, we introduced the 10-minute meeting and the ways it can address all of the above. In January, we offered NEA Benefits as a topic for a 10-minute meeting.
We'd like to hear from you! Are you trying the 10-minute meeting approach? How's it working? Reply
here to give us feedback.
This month, here's another topic:
Wisconsin Spring Primary
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
This important election is less than THREE WEEKS away. Our members (along with most Wisconsin voters) are
notoriously bad about turning out for primary elections.
Your Local's 10-minute meeting on this topic will help voter turnout!
Why should we care about this primary election?
The statewide election of the head of the Wisconsin Department of Education is a three-way race this year between incumbent Superintendent Tony Evers and two challengers who are not enthusiastic supporters of PUBLIC education.
Your daily life at school is greatly impacted by the person who holds this post.
The WEAC Board of Directors has recommended Tony Evers for the post.
Tony has a great history of supporting educators and students, and he's just introduced a state budget proposal that:
restores funding to public schools;
provides for mental health supports; and
builds the education professions.
Meanwhile, his opponents have suggested:
creating a state board of education that would take away the Constitutional powers of the elected superintendent;
turning over schools deemed as 'failing' to voucher operators (and then they introduced a proposal for a new 'report card' that would label almost every single public school in Wisconsin as 'failing!'); and
drawing no distinctions between public schools that accept every child and privately run schools that pick and choose students.
Rule of Thumb regarding political activity at school:
handout that promotes voting on February 21 and a
voter information flyer can be shared with ANYONE. These two pieces do not endorse a particular candidate.
Note: A 10-minute meeting about the primary election that informs people about voter registration, the election date, and early voting should be open to everyone - members and potential members alike.
This is an 11.0101(10)(b)(1) communication with WEAC members
For more details about how the 10-minute meeting works, click here.
Coming next month: more ideas and templates for 10-minute meetings.
Upcoming Membership Events
Click HERE to see our Region 3 Calendar. It includes WEAC and Region 3 governance meetings, Professional Development events, and many other workshops, meetings, and events sponsored by our office.
Here's the other stuff:
APRIL Listening Project: Mark your calendars for
Saturday, April 8. We'll be conducting another Listening Project workshop for TEAMS of Locals to attend and learn how to effectively build a campaign of ACTION. Here's the