Collective bargaining and advocacy enable all stakeholders to work together so that students, educators, and the community benefits. It also gives Association members a genuine voice in their workplace, helping to ensure educator rights, fair compensation and benefits, retirement security, and enhanced, safe conditions for student learning.
Our Approach: Student-Centered Advocacy
Students, and student-centered issues, are at the heart of our bargaining, organizing, and engagement efforts. This type of advocacy is about taking charge and implementing educator-led solutions that work for our students and their schools. It involves leveraging collective power in new ways to raise the voice and vision of educators and build stronger partnerships with parents, students, and other community stakeholders that share common values. As a result of student-centered advocacy, NEA local affiliates have won contract language around issues such as:
- smaller class size
- less testing
- increased staffing of nurses and counselors
- community schools.
To assist NEA and its affiliates and members in promoting and defending collective bargaining, NEA’s Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy Department (CBMA) has developed resources for a variety of audiences – including members, parents, school board members, the general public, and legislators.
Collective Bargaining: How It Works
Collective bargaining is a process through which the employee union and employer representatives exchange ideas, mutually solve problems, and reach a written agreement. It involves:
- Preparing for bargaining
- Conducting negotiations
- Ratifying a contract
- Resolving a contract dispute
- Changing or clarifying the contract.
Please see our complete toolkit on collective bargaining to learn how to use the power of our collective voices to improve conditions for students and educators.
Bargaining for the Common Good
Bargaining for the Common Good is an innovative organizing approach where public sector unions use contract fights to organize local stakeholders around a set of demands that benefit not just the bargaining unit, but also our students and the broader community. Learn the elements of Bargaining for the Common Good.
CBMA awards grants to affiliates to design and implement student-centered initiatives through collective bargaining or other forms of advocacy. Learn about our student-centered advocacy grants and how to submit an application.
It felt different to bargain with the teachers, but it also made sense because we do our work together. We can’t work in silos. At the end of the day, it’s the children getting more services and resources. Who wouldn’t want that?