by Sam Williamson
This year more than 400 32BJ Western Pennsylvania school members will bargain for new contracts. However, the bargaining environment has never been tougher. Last year’s state budget did not get passed until this year, and we can’t let that happen again. That’s why 32BJ and Governor Tom Wolf are fighting to increase our state’s school funding to benefit you and your students.
As school employees you lift so the children can learn. I hope this member update helps you continue to lift your school, community, and this country by making your voice count for the issues that matter to you and by getting involved with your union.
The union difference
Matthew Lamenza is a maintenance employee with the Ellwood City School District – he has been with the District for 17 years. Matthew started as a custodian and worked his way up to maintenance. The fourth generation union member knows the importance of a union: “Nonunion jobs are not promised healthcare, benefits, vacation and sick days like a union job. That’s what’s great about being in 32BJ,” Matthew said.
You can see for yourself in the figures below what the union difference is, and what together we are fighting to protect in your contract bargaining this year!
The big picture
Wealthy special interests want to lower your wages while avoiding paying the taxes that help fund your schools. They want to make it harder for working people to vote. Right to Work” laws weaken unions by making it optional for workers to pay union dues, which limits unions’ resources and drives down wages, benefits, and living standards.
But when 32BJ members join together with community allies, we become an unstoppable force against those trying to hurt working families like yours. That’s why we have embarked on an aggressive new strategy to better organize 32BJ members in WPA schools. Across the region, 32BJ school leaders are coming together to learn more about the challenges we face and begin mobilizing to meet them.
WPA Schools leader retreat
Around 20 excited 32BJ members from WPA schools attended a special retreat for member leaders in April. The getaway to Dawson gave the member leaders an opportunity to undertake training and build connections among the school districts.
Most importantly the member leaders focused on how to bring 32BJ members together to win good contracts this year and fight back against threats to working families and your good jobs.