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Bargaining for the Common Good

A bargaining strategy where educators and their unions join together with parents and other stakeholders to demand change that benefits not just educators, but students and the community as a whole.
New Mexico educator stands in front of signs asking for respect for educator voices.

No matter where we live, we all want our kids to go to schools that foster a love of learning and give them the tools they need to succeed. But in too many schools, years of underfunding and cuts have meant students don’t get the support and opportunities they need. 

With Bargaining for the Common Good, union members partner with the community around a long-term vision for the structural changes they want to see in their communities. Together, they use collective bargaining and advocacy as a critical moment in a broader campaign to win that change.

Uniting to Demand Change for Schools, Communities 

Educators partner with parents and community members in order to identify issues and utilize bargaining, or other forms of advocacy, as a vehicle to make demands for the entire community.  

In states with collective bargaining, contract negotiations provide an opportunity for educators and their unions to involve the larger school community in the vision they want for their school and neighborhood. Instead of being alone and isolated in negotiations, unions join together with parents, and the community, which builds our power.  

When we unite and demand specific changes for our schools, everyone benefits.

When we expand the continuum of bargaining, we build power, and go on the offense in order to fight for social and racial justice, for our kids, for our schools, for our communities, and for the future. 

Man with glasses and dark hair smiling
Class-size reduction, limits on testing, and access to nurses, counselors and librarians will change our students’ lives forever. We won this victory through our unity, our action, and our shared sacrifice.”
Quote by: Alex Caputo-Pearl, United Teachers Los Angeles President

It’s All on the Table 


With Bargaining for the Common Good, we not only fight for better pay and benefits for educators, we also fight for students and communities.   

When the stakeholders come together, they can determine what their community needs. NEA members have successfully used the Bargaining for the Common Good strategy to win: 

  • Less testing 
  • Smaller class sizes 
  • Educator recruitment and retention programs 
  • Equitable school discipline policies 
  • Mental health support 
  • More nurses and counselors 

No Matter Where You Live 

Bargaining for the Common Good works in areas that have collective bargaining and areas that don’t. The mechanics may differ, but the fundamentals are the same.  

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.