The Unions Our Educators & Communities Deserve
This action dialogue will focus on the many roles of unions during these increasingly complex times for educators, learners, families, and communities.
May 03, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM EST
A former high school teacher, Eric Blanc is a doctoral candidate at NYU Sociology and the author of Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics. During the West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Denver, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Chicago public education strikes, Blanc was Jacobin’s on-the-ground correspondent.
A former career teacher, now Professor Emerita of New Jersey City University, currently on the editorial board of New Politics, Dr. Lois Weiner, researches and writes about teachers’ work, urban education, and labor, focusing on teacher unionism. She is currently finishing a new book about challenges teachers and education activists face in the chilling new neoliberal education project, accelerated and intensified by the pandemic, which she describes in her recent New Politics article.
Bill Fletcher Jr has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO.
Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.
Cecily Myart-Cruz is a teacher, activist, and the Vice President of the United Teachers Los Angeles/NEA. She has taught for 24 years, at both elementary and middle school levels, most recently at Angeles Mesa Elementary. She has been recognized for her work in the classroom, including as UTLA/NEA WHO award winner, and she is trained in the AFT’s Education Research & Dissemination (ER&D) framework. She has helped shape Racial Justice within the work of the Union through critical dialogue, forums, all the while making sure student voices are front and center. Lastly, Cecily has continued to build strength and power for UTLA through a strong relationship with the state and national affiliates. She is also a member of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
Chelsie is an educator in Salt Lake City, Utah. She currently serves as the ACLU of Utah’s Equity Officer and oversees the EDIB (Equity Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging) Committee as a proud board member. Chelsie serves locally and nationally the National Education Association currently as a member of the NEA SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) Committee and recently as the NEA Hispanic Secretary and the NEA EMAC (Ethnic Minority Affairs) Committee. In 2017, she was a finalist for the NEA Social Justice Activist Educator of the Year. She also served as the coordinator for the Save the Kids National Week Against School Pushout and the National Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth. Chelsie is currently a graduate student at the University of Utah in the Department of Education, Culture and Society. Her activism is centered, but not limited to; racial justice, the School to Prison Pipeline and the intersectionality of LGBTQIA+ within racial and social justice.
Mike spent 20 years working in a poultry plant in Alabama. He became active in the RWDSU union and soon became Vice President of that union. He continues to be VP of his local, negotiating the contracts every 3 years.
He has organized other poultry plants in Alabama. Mike was promoted to be lead organizer (on the ground) for the Amazon campaign, and currently now works for RWDSU.
In addition to these panelists, rank and file educators from across the United States will be speaking.
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