I've always been a union person. On day one, when I signed my teaching contract, I also signed my union membership card for the California Teachers Association. I firmly believe without a collective voice, workers in the country get trampled. I don't have any faith that those in power will give to those without power.
The strike was a big issue for the our local (United Teachers Los Angeles) and it was the culmination of a lot of years of frustration. I did have an opportunity to advocate directly for my students prior to the strike. I was able to appear with our bargaining team and present from my students' perspective. I wanted our district to hear how difficult and dangerous it is for our students with special needs, some of whom deal with serious medical challenges, to not have a nurse available onsite most days, to have no access to counseling for our students who deal with trauma and issues directly related to their disabilities.
We've also taken smaller actions when teachers were getting displaced or lost their jobs because of a reduction in force. We've also organized around the lack of technology, as well as when the district allows unregulated charter schools to share space on our school campuses.
Labor makes a difference in peoples' lives and we really need to raise our collective voice and band together—because when we do, we win.