"Yeah of course."
"Good that people are finally standing up to the unions."
"The unions. You always seem pretty anti-union."
"Well you're always complaining about how they're getting in your way."
I can't deny that last statement. I do. I complain about my union regularly. I've fought with them, actively or passively, numerous times over my career.
But I support unions and I especially support my own union. As soon as I saw Stephen's post about edusolidarity I knew I'd do it.
I have this go-to phrase. I use it all the time when I'm making a decision. In fact, it overrides most other considerations.
"It'll help our students."
When I hear it, I can't say no.
Three years ago, we never filled an SDC class position. Instead of hiring a substitute, I agreed to roll the SDC class into my newcomers (non-English speakers) class. I did it because I thought it would help our students.
Last year, we had an open position in science. I alternated teaching every single section of science through the week while also creating lessons for the rotating subs. I was responsible for more than 300 students for a few months. I did it because I thought it would help our students.
This year, we had two hours a week added to our schedule. No warning. No increase in pay or other types of compensation. I went along with it. I did it because I thought it would help our students.
And this is where my union and I fight. We disagree because I am only thinking about my students. The union? The union is thinking about me. They're protecting me from me. I
So we fight. And I complain.
And my friends and family only hear the "unions are bad" narrative.
But without my union I would not be here. Without my union I would have burned out long ago. I see 150 kids without a teacher and I don't think, I just act. The union kept pressure on, and the next year, we found an SDC teacher. The union didn't let my school forget about the open science position and so we had a new teacher by January. The union helped us get some of that added time back for staff collaboration.
My union thinks about me so I can think about my kids. I support my union because I can't support myself.