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Illustration of changemakers in a school breakroom, performing various activities.

Growing Our Union Together

NEA's Union Bulletin
With more members, we can have an even stronger voice to raise wages, improve working conditions, and create the schools our students deserve.

Your Organizing Checklist

  • Find your place in your union taking our changemaker quiz
  • Show your union pride with our downloadable posters and social media posts
  • Get involved in your school by using our conversation starters and organizing strategy guides

Find Your Place

Thank you for taking the time to help build a stronger union.

We know that a bigger union gives us a stronger voice—and the ability to protect and transform our profession, our schools, and our communities.

Every member can play a role in growing the union, whether or not they have had formal training. Sometimes all it takes is starting a conversation, answering questions, and extending an invitation.

Wondering where to get started? Take our quiz!

Whether it's your nature speak up loudly or work behind the scenes quietly, our union is made up of many different types of activists. Take our short quiz to find out what kind of changemaker you are.

Take Our Quiz

Show Your Union Pride

Show Your Union Pride

When more educators join our union, we will have an even stronger voice to improve our daily lives and the lives of our students. Looking for a way to start the conversation around membership? From posters to social media posts, we have tools to help!

Share on Social Media

NEA educators deliver real change. We meet with school administrators and lawmakers from both political parties to make sure our voices are being heard and respected. Text JOIN to 48744 to become a member today!
Together, our union has successfully raised educator wages, improved working conditions, supported student loan forgiveness, and made sure the voices of educators are actually heard. Text JOIN to 48744 to become a member today!
Together we’re stronger. Together we’re heard. With more members like you, educators will have an even stronger voice to improve our daily lives the lives of our students. Text JOIN to 48744 to join us today!

Have the conversation with your colleagues today! 

Use these prompts to start a conversation with someone following an initial contact. You can also change them a bit and use them to reach out to someone you haven't heard from in a while.

Guide to Organizing Conversations

Yes, You Can Organize! 

These fellow NEA members believe you can help grow the union. Here are their answers to common questions about organizing:

Andrea Kuchta headshot
Andrea Kuchta Credit: Jati Lindsay

What if I’m an introvert? Surely I wouldn’t be a good member organizer.

Conversations with prospective members don’t have to be some big formal affair. Try thinking of it more as a friend-to-friend conversation. What would you say to friends or family about why you value our union? Think about all the special connections you have in your school community, and then ask others to come be a part of it.

—Andrea Kuchta, pre-K intervention specialist, Ohio

Cassondra Owens Moore
Cassondra Owens Moore Credit: Jati Lindsay

How do I kick off a conversation about joining?

Share what made you first decide to join the union. Before I joined, I was approached by two different unions. One talked to me about liability insurance. But the organizer from The South Carolina Education Association made it sound like they needed my voice, my energy, and my talent. That’s what inspired me to join. I’ll never forget that.

—Cassondra Owens Moore, teacher and school librarian, South Carolina

I live in a non-bargaining state. How do I explain the value of the union here?

Tonya Horn
Tonya Horn Credit: Jati Lindsay

First, make it clear that unions are legal everywhere. Then explain that your union meets regularly with school administrators, school boards, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to advocate for higher wages, better benefits, and improved working conditions for educators. Unions get their strength from members, and when more educators join, the union is in a better position to deliver results for educators and students.

— Tonya Horn, paraeducator, Ohio

What if we have a good conversation, but my prospect isn’t ready to join?

Katie Fuller sits at a table and talk with an educator colleague
Katie Fuller Credit: Jati Lindsay

That’s OK! Reassure them that they can reach out to you with any other thoughts or questions. Follow up with a message of support, and reference anything that stood out during your initial conversation.

It’s good to connect more than once with a prospective member. The fact that you took the time to circle back will likely resonate with them.

—Katie Fuller, fifth-grade teacher, Ohio

When and where can I have membership conversations?

Brandi McCoid
Brandi McCoid Credit: Jati Lindsay

Don’t limit yourself to new teacher orientations. Conversations about joining can happen in the staff lounge,  at a training, or at a coffee shop. I recently attended a conference of school custodians to make sure they knew about the union and invited them to join. I also presented at a conference about a different topic, and I was able to have a lot of conversations. I signed up another 22 members. Once you get started in member organizing, you won’t want
to stop!

—Brandi McCoid, paraeducator, Wyoming

 

NEA Today connected with members of NEA’s National Member Organizing Cadre to find out how to have conversations that make a difference in recruiting new members.

Get More Organizing Tips

MORE ORGANIZING TOOLS AND RESOURCES

NEA's organizing experts have created conversation starters, how-to guides, and programmatic supports to help your organizing campaigns.
A young woman is coached by an experienced teacher

Union Basics and Explainers

Unions are the best way for educators to come together and advocate for the resources they need to do their best for their students. Check out these tools to learn more about unions and how to get more involved!
Two teachers walking down hallway

Conversation Guides

Looking for a way to start the conversation around membership? We’ve created tools and explainers about the issues our members care about most.
two teachers talking

NEA's Guides to Organizing

From worksite visits to list acquisition, these straightforward guides provide the information you need to do effective organizing work in your schools and beyond.

Organizing Resources at Your Fingertips

This toolkit has the resources you need to support your membership drive! Access find videos, graphics, downloadable posters, and more to help you spread the word and recruit new members. Access Organizing
"We are the change we want to see in the world" sign at RedForEd rally

Year-Round Organizing at NEA

NEA's Year-Round Organizing Framework centers around key field strategies that naturally flow through each of the four seasonal components of a typical school year. Each campaign builds on the momentum of each other, helping members and staff work together to grow our union and create the change our public schools need.
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.