Pasco teachers union uses election results to push for members
The outcome of the Nov. 2 elections didn't give Pasco County teachers much to cheer. The three School Board candidates endorsed by the United School Employees of Pasco won, but two of them weren't even the group's first choice in the primaries.
On the state level, the emerging Republican majorities caused concern that proposals on teacher contracts, retirement benefits and the like that died a year ago will be back with a vengeance in the coming year.
What does it mean? For USEP president Lynne Webb, who's up for reelection herself in the spring, it means time to join the union.
"These are difficult times," Webb wrote this morning in a memo to employees. "We must band together and be ready for the battles ahead whether they’re with the Superintendent and School Board over negotiations or with the legislature and Governor over performance pay, job security, privatization, or our right to collectively bargain. We must ensure that our union is strong, for our union and affiliates are the only organizations whose sole purpose is to represent your interests. Our unions stand up for what is right — even when it’s not popular."
Read on to view Webb's full memo, which included a copy of an application to join up. The new members of the Pasco School Board has scheduled an executive session to discuss negotiations, meanwhile, on next Tuesday.
"The election on November 2nd was good for us locally and troubling for us at the state level. All three of the USEP TIGER PRIDE endorsed school board candidates won, creating a new majority on the school board. The new Board doesn’t take office until November 16th, which creates a bit of a wrinkle for our negotiations. But be assured, the United School Employees of Pasco bargaining teams are committed to settling contract negotiations as soon as possible--but not at the expense of the teachers and SRP. Watch for the upcoming UNITER for more detailed information on the status and direction of negotiations.
On the state level, our world changed on November 2nd! Now we don’t have even one friendly part of government to count on: Governor, House, or Senate. The bad legislation we fought so hard to defeat last year, like SB 6 and the retirement assaults, will reemerge, and we won’t have a veto to count on.
These are difficult times. We must band together and be ready for the battles ahead whether they’re with the Superintendent and School Board over negotiations or with the legislature and Governor over performance pay, job security, privatization, or our right to collectively bargain. We must ensure that our union is strong, for our union and affiliates are the only organizations whose sole purpose is to represent your interests. Our unions stand up for what is right — even when it’s not popular.
As the President of USEP, I recognize how hard you work and how difficult it has been for many to make ends meet. That’s why I promise that I will continue the fight and not compromise our principles! I ask that you not compromise when it comes to joining and supporting USEP—whether you’re already a member or not, we need your membership and support. Members are the USEP, and we make the union powerful. The more who belong to USEP, the more effective we can be.
As President, I ask that during these tough times we stick together to make a difference. Many of you have taken a stand by being part of USEP, and I thank you for doing the right thing and lending your support to our union. For those who have not yet made the commitment to join USEP, I urge you to do so now. Please use the card attached to join USEP. If you’re already a member, use the card to ask a colleague to join.
With all of my heart, I truly believe that only through union involvement will you have a strong voice at work and in your profession, and only through USEP and our affiliates will our future be saved."