NWEA member, Patricia Jolly (PJ) attended this past year’s NEA RA and we thought it would be nice to share with the rest of the local members some of the highlights of the event.M
PJ is on the Resolutions Team, so she arrives 2 days before most of the delegates. The team starts with strategic planning where members are divided up by state. The number of delegates per state depends on the state’s population, so Oregon had 3. The event started off with NEA’s strategic focus of advancing racial and cultural justice.
PJ’s Oregon colleagues were Juliet Safire from Vernonia and Aldopho Garcia from Portland Public Schools.
On the 30th, NEA joined community members to march in protest of the immigrant children’s treatment. PJ got to carry the parachute through 98 degree heat with heat index of over 100.
PJ attended the presentation of the human and civil rights board.
The rest of delegates arrived for NEA RA. David Hogg was one of the keynote speakers. PJ raised over $1,000 in donations to children’s fund so she received a backpack prize.
4th of July
A day of sightseeing. PJ went on a sternwheeler-type boat for 4th of July fireworks over the Mississippi river. She had to save Prince tour at Paisely park for the next trip.
‘Red for Ed’ was the theme for the year.
NEA also sent hundreds of letters to the children in Puerto Rico and the immigrant children who were separated from their parents
PJ got to vote for new executive board members. She got to see the difference between our local and other locals across the nation. In some unions, IA’s (called ESP’s for education support professionals), bus drivers, custodial staff etc. are in same union as teachers, but in Oregon they are separate.
After 2 days of working on resolutions committee there was a hearing where people could bring revisions, suggestions, changes to be considered. Then it was taken back to internal editing committee of resolutions and the resolutions team got together to make recommendations to caucuses back to members on how to vote.
Because resolutions take up a lot of the business, there is sort of a mini-RA where presentations are made on the last day to be accepted as a total report.
Any new business carries over to the following spring and those who are still on the resolutions committee (committee members are voted by caucus) pick up the work. PJ wanted to make sure to point out that this is her 6th year serving which means she is terming out and she would love it if another member could get involved.
PJ said "It is nice thing is to see what is happening in all 50 states, how we can help each other, and realize how lucky we are in Oregon for having a union. You get to see how the states that don’t have a union don’t have equal representation."