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educators at a table for collective bargaining

Organizing Tools - Union 101

Let's Talk about Unions
Looking for a way to start the conversation around membership? We’ve created tools and explainers about union membership that you can send to potential members.

How to use this toolkit

  • Learn about the power of educators coming together through their union.
  • Share our conversation starters to help potential and existing members understand key union terms.
  • Use prompts to schedule follow up conversations that deepen relationships and connections.

Understanding Unions

When educators are respected, appreciated, heard, and have the resources we need, we can give students our very best. NEA members come together through our union to win for our students, our schools, and ourselves. 

By joining together, we have more power to advocate for: 

  • Better pay and benefits 
  • Better working conditions 
  • Better learning conditions for our students 

Spread the Word

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!

Share These Messages

On Text Message

Hi <FIRSTNAME>, it’s <YOURNAME> from <AFFILIATENAME>! It was great talking to you about our union. I know there are a lot of new terms to learn while you consider membership. Check out our union glossary to get started! <LINK>

On Email


It’s <YOURNAME> from <AFFILIATENAME>! It was great meeting you at <EVENTNAME>. I’m following up to let you know a little bit more about our union. 

Our members impact meaningful change for educators and students. Together, we have successfully raised educator wages, improved working conditions, supported student loan forgiveness, and made sure the voices of educators are heard. 

Our collective voice is our power. Learn about the union advantage >>  

I’d love to talk to you more about our union and what we can achieve together. Are you free for a quick chat sometime this month? 

In solidarity, 


Online Tools

If you want to change something at your school, in your district, in your state or even nationally, your union is your way to make that change a reality. Use these online tools to help explain the power of union membership.
Girl with megaphone in a group of people

Union & Educator Voice

Two teachers walk through a hallway

Union Terms to Know

From “affiliate” to “UniServ,” being a part of a union comes with its own vocabulary. Here are a few words you should know.
educators at a table for collective bargaining

Understanding Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining is the strongest and most empowering way to give educators a voice in advocating for great public education for every student.

Talk About Our Wins

Sharing these local and statewide victories shows educators that union membership makes a real and daily difference in their schools. We have identified wins for every state, showing that our power is not limited by geography or political party.

Share These Messages

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. Find out how we are creating change in all 50 states:

On Email


By banding together, our members impact meaningful change for educators and students. 

Together, we have successfully raised educator wages, improved working conditions, supported student loan forgiveness, and made sure the voices of educators are actually heard.  

Check out 50 ways members are winning for students, schools, and each other. 

There are thousands educators just like us across the state and millions of educators across the country working together to accomplish things one teacher, one bus driver, one janitor, or even one district can’t. 

How are educators creating change in your state? Click here to find out!  

Together we are stronger. Together we are heard. If you are interested in the union, but are unsure about joining, I would love to connect and answer any questions you have. 

In solidarity, 


On Text Message

Hi there! This year, educators came together for schools, students, and each other. See how we made a difference in all 50 states:

Delivering Real Change for Our Students and Schools

Here are some of our wins in the last year—some are big, and some are small—and that’s the point. We fight for the public schools our students deserve, no matter how big or how small the issue.


Looking for more ways to start the conversation around membership? Check out our other tools for additional content on the issues educators care about most.
two teachers talking in an empty classroom

How to Have Transformational Organizing Conversations

This guide will help you start recruitment conversations and navigate those questions while highlighting all that NEA has to offer at the local, state and national level.
union and collective bargaining art build

Let's Talk About Union Membership

This guide supports educators as they work together to grow our union. Find videos, graphics, and downloadable posters to help you spread the word about your membership drive.
A young woman is coached by an experienced teacher

Organizing Conversation Starters

From student debt to health care, NEA members are winning changes on the issues educators care about most. Check out these guides to start organizing conversations that strengthen union power,

Download and Share

Print these union explainers and share them with educators at events, in your staff lounge, and over coffee.

Join Our Movement

We ask only what is right: equal opportunity for every student, every educator, every family. At home, in school, online, in Washington–there’s a right place for all of us to make a difference.
"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.