Here is a post from the NEOEA Retired Newsletter.

NEOEA-Retired Newsleter

Volume 13, Number 2  

January, 2013


by Mary Alice Conkey, NEOEA President

So you may ask, why am I in this darn union? Is it to work toward

changing the rules? Is it to serve my individual needs? Is it to be with

a group when the ship goes down? Unions exist to serve the needs of

the membership and the needs of the masses, as a whole. They exist

to make the work environment cooperative, in order to meet the mutual

goals of the union and the administration or management. Sometimes

that means not winning at all costs each and every time. Other times it

may mean not always taking a position which is totally contrary to the

administration or management of the organization. Being in a union

means we buy a membership in the union, not a service, through our

dues deduction. The membership we purchase is much like a gym

membership. We pay dues to become part of a larger group with

similar interests and goals.

Education employees should realize they have bought a membership in

today’s union and, therefore, have a right to participate in the decisionmaking

process for the group. We are all then governed by common

rules for the work environment set out by the contract and laws

governing the profession. The membership affords us the rights which

are agreed upon by the group and the administration. If I find a right is

being violated, I have a process to file a grievance, also outlined in the

contract. If I have a complaint, there is a different process. I have a

right to participate in the union’s processes for grievances and

complaints because of the dues deduction. No one wants a

membership with no participation. Unions offer a reliable way to have

an authentic voice in concerns.

There is no room for self-centered attitudes in a union. We should hold

true to the belief “one for us all and all of us for one.” This mantra will

bring about strength and unity for the good of all members. It is

important to hear all the voices of the membership and to select the

road which best serves us all. The union does not serve individual

needs; rather it hears my voice amongst the voices of the membership,

and the union selects the course of action that best serves us all. Once

a deal is made, members need to respect the leadership, work toward

spreading the good of the whole to colleagues, and move the union

forward. It is not our role as members to be after-the-fact quarterbacks.

The ultimate goal is equity. I may not appreciate every decision made

or agree with everyone whose voice gets heard, but we’re in this


Membership in a union means we do not leave any of our members

“out on a limb alone.” Unions protect and defend the rules, regardless

of the person. The union’s responsibility is to protect the rights,

bargained or legislated, of the members. The union should engage in

collective behaviors that ensure the stability and viability of the

profession. Working against individual needs is required to guarantee

the survival of the agreement and the health of the workplace and the


As a union we need to be ready to dust ourselves off and continue our

efforts to ensure the stability of our profession, the value of our

workplace, and the cohesiveness of our group. In the current political

atmosphere, we can’t be angry or complacent in our union. Change

may be necessary for the health of the organization, but it takes each

of us to bring about that evolution. We cannot be braced to watch the

downfall of the union—because the union guarantees our future. We

must have an active, ongoing presence in, and influence on, the

profession we have chosen.

Who is the union—we are the union! Engage in wearing our union on

our sleeve as a badge of honor. If you are still asking “why am I in this

darn union,” I say to you—you bought a membership and it is time to

show up, invest your time, and participate. You must participate fully,

no matter what conflict arises. Strength in numbers, growth through

community. We organize, because without such allied strength, we

have even less control over the difficult work for which we must accept


Strongsville Teachers Strike

Submitted by Gary Carlile
Strongsville Teachers Forced to Go on Strike As of Monday, March 4, 2013, the Strongsville Education Association (SEA) is on strike. Teachers had been working without a contract since June 30, 2012, and our team has been negotiating in good faith for the past 9 months. However, no settlement occurred. We authorized a ten day notice to strike on February 22, 2013. The Board continued to bargain in bad faith, and after providing their “Last Best Offer” on March 2, 2013, we learned that the board was preparing  to implement this proposal. The SEA was left with no other choice but to go on strike.We are asking for your support in our efforts to protect the collective bargaining rights of all OEA members. Messages of support can be sent to Amytmcmillan@gmail.com. Donations should be sent to the Strongsville Education Association in care of the OEA Middleburg Heights Uniserv Office 7530 Lucerne Drive, Suite 100 Middleburg Heights, OH 44130. Your continued support is appreciated.  Please contact our board members and urge them to go back to the bargaining table with SEA and reach an agreement on a fair and equitable contract to end this strike.

Submitted by Shelli Jackson

Strongsville Education Association Tuesday, March 5, 2013 2nd Day of Strike The Strongsville Education Association was greeted hugs, horn honks, and LOTS OF DOUGHNUTS (and other food/drink items) from students, community members and colleagues.   Despite numerous reports made by Strongsville Board President David Frazee that school without qualified educators would be “business as usual,” actual widespread student reports, ranging from overcrowded babysitting to complete chaos, have been shown anything but “usual.”  The administration appears to suppress the students’ First Amendment right to free speech.  Students were reportedly told that they were not to post any information to social media about the strike or what was happening inside the school buildings.

The more things change the more they stay the same

Hello ACE Membership,

The OEA held its LRC realignment and bidding process on January 31, 2013. At the end of bidding Austintown EA, Campbell EA, Sebring EA, Struthers EA, YSU-ACE, YSU-APAS and YSU-OEA, to name some of those involved, did not have a LRC. This change would take effect on March 4, 2013. The local presidents were officially notified on February 26, 2013 of substitute assignments. Our local will have Helen Matusick substituting as ACE’s LRC until a permanent replacement is found.

Lonnie and I were awaiting the official notification, which arrived via email from the OEA, to insure accurate information was disseminated to our members.

Thank you,

Paul Trimacco