Bargaining for the Common Good: Introduction and Case Study
Through collective bargaining and advocacy at both the state and local level, NEA members fight for more than their economic security. They make demands to improve student learning and the educational environment, like smaller class size, fewer standardized tests, more recess and art and music classes, and additional counselors.
State and local affiliates across the country are bargaining, organizing, and engaging community partners and allies to make student-centered demands. 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.
Student-centered advocacy focuses on strategies to enhance student learning and improve educator working conditions. NEA local affiliates across the country have engaged in these types of strategies and tactics and have won contract language around issues such as smaller class size, less testing, increased staffing of nurses and counselors, and community schools.
Bargaining for the Common Good (BCG) is an innovative approach to bargaining 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. It is about partnering with parents and community allies who share similar values and beliefs in order to identify issues and utilize bargaining as a vehicle to make demands for the entire community. It is about building power to fight for our students, schools, and for our communities.
It is an opportunity to naturally connect with allies, rather than being isolated and attacked, which builds our power for good—for all of us. BCG is about expanding the continuum of bargaining, building power, and going on the offense in order to fight for social and racial justice — for our kids, for our schools, for our communities that we serve, and for the future.
Whether your union envisions engaging in a Bargaining for the Common Good strategy or not, Student Centered Advocacy is a great way to increase capacity and power in order to fight for the schools your students deserve!