June 12, 2020
Hello everyone,

The Covid-19 pandemic dramatically changed public education in Wisconsin and the country. Even though the press was saying, “schools are closed,” you were all hard at work holding your schools together. You learned new virtual platforms, you rearranged your schedules to accommodate parents, and you continued to put students first. While all this was happening, many districts left educators out of major decisions. There was a brief period in the beginning of this chaos where we weren’t sure if support staff would be getting paid, what work expectations would look like, what individual contracts would look like and so many more concerns. This uncertainty left many feeling unsupported by their districts who they just worked so hard to help.

But once again educators rose to the challenge and made their voices heard. In Kiel, the staff was given notice of an administrative decision that would cost them an extra $3,000 per year in out-of-pocket health insurance costs. That very same day, they were also given yard signs saying they love their teachers. The Local organized meetings, created a letter writing campaign that resulted in the board rescinding its decision!

Many districts, including Gillett, New Holstein, Marinette, and Crivitz were asking people to come into the buildings during Evers' Safer at Home order. The locals there pushed back by collectively sharing their concerns for their own health and safety to their superintendents and boards. After so many people came forward, these districts all made the mandatory in-person meetings virtual or optional. In Shawano and De Pere, members pushed back to ensure the support staff would be paid. Brown County Special Ed was able to change dire contract language that would have invalidated their individual contracts if another state mandated closure occurred and Southern Door was able to remove school closure language from their individual contracts entirely.

All these changes happened because everyone felt the same way and they did something about it.
They took collective action!
 
This is what being a union member is all about! When we act together, we get things done. A union with a large percentage of engaged members gets a seat at the table because the bosses realize not including us would cause a problem. We at Region 3 are dedicated to helping you build strong unions that can navigate whatever life throws at us. Every new member helps us effectively advocate for ourselves, our students, and our communities a little more. 

So how do we do it? Well, a great first step is attending our Membership Drive training on June 23rd. Locals that have already signed up include: Sturgeon Bay, Port Washington- Saukville, Sevastopol, Manitowoc, Marinette, Seymour, Southern Door, Pulaski, and Ashwaubenon! The agenda includes how to talk about your union, answer hard questions, utilize online platforms, and a conversation about merging our locals with support staff. RSVP HERE !
 
Feel free to reach out with any questions!

In Solidarity,
Kristin Lytie
WEAC Region 3 
“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” – Audre Lorde

As union members, we are part of a movement that is dedicated to principles of fairness, equality, and justice. Unions have long been used as mechanisms of social change and it’s vital that we continue this tradition by showing up for our black and brown coworkers, students, and neighbors. Several WEAC Region 3 members and staff (l. to r., Ben Kline, Southern Door; Julie Geiser, Howard-Suamico; Erin Karsten, WR3; Kristin Lytie, WR3; Jackie Baumann, Pulaski; and Denise Gaumer-Hutchison, WPEN) participated in the March for Racial Justice in Green Bay last weekend which boasted over 1,000 participants. The march was peaceful and included 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to acknowledge the death of George Floyd and other victims of police brutality. 
ATTENTION BROWN COUNTY RESIDENTS

It is very important that people contact their county supervisor before the vote on June 17th to request the nonpartisan redistricting question be added to the ballot in November as the County Board meets!
 
This is really important! Wisconsin needs fair maps!!!!!!!! All the information is HERE .
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 and discontinuation of monthly dues withdrawals requires a signed letter sent to the Membership Department. Here is a sample letter that can be mailed or scanned and emailed to membership@weac.org. This letter MUST include the date and your signature!
  • 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 link to life insurance information:  https://www.neamb.com/products/life-insurance
  • For questions about other retiree benefits, members should call the Region 3 office at 1-800-472-5582 and consult with a regional director.
Region 3 Special Education Networking Meeting

During our weekly Region 3 zoom meetings, it became apparent that what is happening in one district with Special Ed varies wildly from district to district. It was decided that these educators could benefit greatly by strategizing, sharing best practices and asking each other questions. So, let's do it!
 
When: July 16, 2020 @ 4:00 PM
 
Register in advance for this meeting:
 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Teachers are required to submit a background check to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) every five years. For lifetime or master educator license holders, the year in which you submit your background check corresponds to the year your license would have expired. Any license holder who last renewed their license in 2015 must submit an application for a background check by June 30. For provisional license holders, your background check is due 5 years after your lifetime license begins. Read more .
We'll be discussing how to make the membership ask virtually, how to use various online platforms to your advantage, and engage your fellow members!
1 - 5 pm Virtually

EDUCATION SUPPORT PERSONNEL CONNECTION CALL
Region 3 has created an ESP Connection Call to check in with one another, keep each other in the loop and plan our next steps. This zoom meeting was organized by Sue Smits, long time ESP activist and advocate, because she recognized the need for this conversation to take place. Now more than ever ESP staff need to be in contact with each other to discuss what their districts are doing, best practices and how to implement them in their own district. The global pandemic has revealed that schools are the social safety nets for many of our communities and that those safety nets work because you do.
 
Please join us on Thursday, July 7 at 4 pm via zoom to participate in this important conversation.  
 
 
 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
The 2020 Summer Summit is on! It will be a virtual and modified version of WPEN's annual event, complete with plenary and breakout sessions and plenty of opportunities for networking - all online! Logistics are being worked on, so stay tuned for details and register today by clicking on photo above !

Don't miss Wisconsin's public education event of the year!
Plan now for Leadership Academy
Are you looking for ideas for strengthening your local association? Join us at WEAC’s Summer Leadership Academy—a virtual training event on July 27 and July 28. 
Check out WEAC on Facebook
Join Early at No Extra Cost
When you become a member of your local association, WEAC and NEA,
by completing an early enrollment membership form, you pay nothing
until September 1 and immediately receive:

  • $1 million in coverage under the Educator Employment Liability (EEL) insurance to protect you if a student or parent sues you during the course of employment

  • Discounts and savings through NEA Member Benefits (www.neamb.com).


At the start of the school year, you will enjoy the full benefits of membership
including:

  • Representation through your local and region in employment disputes

  • Eligibility for assistance through the WEAC Legal Services Program in matters related to your employment

  • Access to the Attorney Referral Program that provides for two, free half-hour consultations with a participating attorney every year


BECOME A MEMBER TODAY
by contacting Region3@weac.org !

WEAC
NEA
You are Invited!
WR3's ALL-MEMBER
Weekly Virtual Gathering
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Please note that you need to PRE-Register for the meeting by clicking on the link above. Then an email will be sent to you with the login link.
We are doing our best to Zoombomb-proof our meeting!

Agenda:
1) Latest updates on school closings.
2) Time for sharing! What's going on in your area?


We look forward to SEEING you!
It's a good idea to log in a few minutes early
to get the audio and video working on your device.
Region 3 has added a COVID-19 INFO tab at the top of our webpage: https://region3.weac.org/

Clicking on that tab gives you access to a Google Drive with all kinds of updated information. We have posted a document with links and resources, recordings of virtual gatherings, an Excel version of our survey data, and more.
If you have a question about other meetings, check WEAC's webpage:
WEAC is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our members and the students they serve and will continue to provide resources and support as they become available. 

Live Webinars Scheduled for July 2020ding Here
ETF is offering a series of 30-minute, live, interactive webinars designed to increase your understanding of Wisconsin Retirement System benefits. Individuals can also ask questions at the end of these sessions. Visit their webinar page to learn more.