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Together, we are heard. Union & Educator Voice

Our members have successfully raised educator wages, improved working conditions, supported student loan forgiveness, and made sure the voices of educators are heard.
The National Education Association is the largest labor union in the country. 

When we unite and speak truth to power, we can have an enormous impact. That’s why our nearly three million members join together to create a future where schools are funded, educators are supported, and students are thriving. 

We Are the Union 

We are a community of teachers, nurses, paraeducators, counselors, custodians, bus drivers, higher education faculty, parents, and community members—all working together for students and public schools.  

Together NEA members accomplish things one educator, or even one district, can’t. We regularly meet with administrators, school boards, and lawmakers from both parties and in every state to impact meaningful change for our public schools.  

THE UNION ADVANTAGE

When educators are respected, appreciated, heard, and have the resources we need, we can give students our very best. NEA members come together 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 
Starting Teacher pay increases
In the past year, starting teacher pay in states with collective bargaining increased more than in states without bargaining.

Not only do educators with collective bargaining earn more on average, but we’re also able to advocate better for our students. 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.  

Collective Bargaining and Advocacy

Get to Know your Union Contract

We help you get Better Pay and Benefits

Art build with the text "educators need the pay to stay"

Educator Pay

Inadequate educator pay comes at a high cost for schools and students, who must deal with the ramifications of high turnover and teacher shortages.
Doctor holds up stethoscope to child in striped shirt.

Health Care

NEA works closely with state and local NEA affiliates to secure quality, affordable, and comprehensive health care coverage for NEA members and their families.
teacher with classroom raising hands

Retirement Security

Pensions provide a predictable, guaranteed benefit for educators when they retire and help attract and retain great educators to the profession.

We Help You Grow

NEA is here to help you succeed. We know that when educators are supported in our careers, we can focus on educating our students.
remote teaching covid

Teacher Professional Growth 

Professional learning throughout an educator’s career is essential to achieving great public schools. Find out about crucial features and strategies to support professional learning. 
photo of Latina educator holding a clipboard in front of a bus

Education Support Professional Growth 

To ensure a great public education for every student, education support professionals (ESPs) want and deserve high-quality professional development and supports at every stage of their careers. 

Higher Ed Professional Growth

Since 1999, NEA has partnered with the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network to provide teaching guides for faculty. 

Support at the Local Level

We have a vast network of professionals including UniServ Directors and building representatives who are your go-to resource for union support on the local level. Contact them, or your local union president, to get advice or representation in employment-related matters. 
If your UniServ Representative, local president, or state association EEL Coordinator is not available, you may send a copy of all legal documents, as well as a brief description of the occurrence, to: NEA Collective Bargaining & Member Advocacy, Legal Services Programs, 1201 16th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036, Telephone: (202) 822-7080.

We've Got Your Back

Should anything happen to you on the job that can threaten your reputation, certification, or even livelihood, your union is your first line of defense.   

Job and Career Security

 

Local, State, and National Action

https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/action-center/our-issues/special-education

Becoming an active member of your union is the best way to connect with like-minded colleagues across the district, state, and nation who are working to better students’ lives.  

Whether you help shape the direction, budget, and strategy of the union at the Representative Assembly or connect with state and federal legislative campaigns, your involvement ensures your voice is included in the conversation around public education.

Connect With State Affiliates

Explore Priority Federal Legislation 

Learn About the Representative Assembly

OUR VOICE = OUR POWER

Meet a few NEA members and learn about what they’ve done to secure better learning environments for their students.
Tamika Walker Kelly is an elementary school music specialist in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Tamika Walker Kelly

"Educators have the ability to lay the groundwork to help our students understand what is happening in the world now and how they will be the catalyst to change the future."
Tucker Quetone is a high school English teacher in Minnesota

Tucker Quetone

“Our local has also negotiated contract language for more school counselors, social workers, and mental health practitioners.”
Kristina Kinslow is a preschool teacher in Troy, Illinois

Kristina Kinslow

“I want to be a part of the process that helps to keep quality educators in the profession and be involved in policy decisions and political action.”
Lawrence Brinson outside his school

Lawrence Brinson

“If it wasn’t for the Association, I don’t think I would have picked up a lot of the skill-set needed to help advocate for the resources students need to be successful.”
Marcia MacKey is an associate professor of sport management and aquatics in Michigan

Marcia MacKey

“I think I am a better advocate because I found out I have a voice.”
Georgia Flowers-Lee is a special education teacher in California

Georgia Flowers-Lee

“Labor makes a difference in peoples' lives and we really need to raise our collective voice and band together—because when we do, we win.”

Educator Advocacy in Every State

Across the country, educators are coming together to advocate for strong public schools. Even in states that limit collective bargaining, educators still have a say and a big impact. Unions in these states have been effective at raising educator pay and benefits and improving learning conditions for students. 

Educators working together can leverage their power through organizing, advocacy and labor-management collaboration. By using our collective voices at the state and local level we can affect positive change for ourselves and our students.  

How We Win

Two teachers walk through a hallway

Get to Know Union Lingo

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

WE'RE HERE TO HELP

NEA’s Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy Department (CBMA) helps our affiliates promote and defend collect bargaining.  We develop resources for our members, parents, school board members, the general public, and legislators. 

We also offer affiliates student–centered advocacy grants. Affiliates have used these grants to make collective bargaining a more transparent process, support students away from the bargaining table, join the Red for Ed movement, bargain for the Common Good, and advocate for the schools our students deserve.  In states without collective bargaining we support affiliates with advocacy strategies and tactics.

LET US KNOW HOW WE CAN HELP YOU WITH YOUR BARGAINING OR ADVOCACY INITIATIVE.

Teacher with elementary school students

Join the Movement

Becoming a member of the National Education Association connects you with a movement of educators supporting each other. We are a community that will help you advocate for the funding, resources, and support you and your students deserve.
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.