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Bargaining & Educator Voice

Collective bargaining and advocacy ensures that we enhance student learning and improve educator working conditions–benefiting our students, schools, and the community as a whole.
Two individuals discussing a document

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:

  1. Preparing for bargaining
  2. Conducting negotiations
  3. Ratifying a contract
  4. Resolving a contract dispute
  5. 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.

Advocacy Grants

Looking to implement student-centered initiatives through collective bargaining or other forms of advocacy?  Learn about our student-centered advocacy grants for affiliates and how to submit an application.

Kember Kane
When unions negotiate for teacher working conditions, they also negotiate for the conditions that our children learn in.
Quote by: Kember Kane, Kindergarten Teacher
Colorado educator in red shirt speaking

Advocacy Grants for NEA Affiliates

Looking to implement student-centered initiatives through collective bargaining or other forms of advocacy?
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.