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Collective Bargaining: What It Is, How It Works, Why It Matters

Collective bargaining is about more than ensuring economic security. It's about winning better conditions for student learning and development. Here's how to make it work for you.
Published: 06/2020

Collective bargaining gives educators a voice. Through collective bargaining, NEA members negotiate for more than their own economic security. They are also securing vital resources to help communities bring in more public resources to improve education, by reducing class size, increasing student learning times while reducing unnecessary testing, and gaining affordable health care for children and their families.

The strength in unions is critical to improving our economy and helping working families get ahead. In good or bad economic times, a collaborative public education employer can better serve students and the community by negotiating in good faith with its unions.

Our locals are also opening up the negotiations process to include community partners and parents to develop proposals together to gain critical resources for students and ensure that all students have the support they need, no matter where they live.

Below you'll find tools you need to raise your collective voice for students and educators, including:

  • Context on the right to collective bargaining
  • The case for collective bargaining and advocacy
  • The stages of the collective bargaining process
  • Next steps for working working with your local.
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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.