Posts Tagged ‘union’

Building an ABE union in Massachusetts: Yes We Can!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

We had a great meeting last Friday and are moving forward in trying to organize the field!

Where we stand right now, we are researching the best model for organizing our field. 


We need to know what our bargaining unit would look like. That is, we need to build a list of the names and contact information of everyone working in ABE programs.

You can help by:

Learning more about the steps to forming a non-traditional union by looking at the MECEU Candyland flyer. These steps would be the same for ABE as for Early Childhood educators.
Gathering the names and home contact information (e-mail, address and phone) of the people in your adult education program (whether or not they are currently interested in the union*). (Print this sheet and pass it around at your next staff meeting. Follow this link to enter your information!)
Talking to your coworkers about this non-traditional union and organizing effort. Share this informational flyer and MECEU Candyland.
Talking to your contacts at other ABE programs and getting them involved!
• Coming to the next Organizing Committee meeting: Friday, May 4 at 10 a.m. at the Jamaica Plain Library (12 Sedgewick St., Boston 02130)
• Organizing your own local meeting to discuss this unionizing model.
Read our previous posts on organizing the ABE field:
Early Educators’ Union a Model for Adult Ed? (4/13/12)
Can ABE Piggyback off Early Childhood Ed. Unionization? (12/1/11)


*We need to talk to people to find out their interest. Down the road, when we have a better idea of the size of our bargaining unit and are expanding our campaign, we will start signing union authorization cards giving our union the ability to bargain a contract for ABE workers.


Early Educators’ Union a Model for Adult Ed?

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Early childhood educators in Massachusetts are organizing a radical new kind of union. The MECEU (Mass. Early Childhood Educators Union) would bargain directly with the Commonwealth, rather than with each individual employer. Our field of ABE has a similar profile: hundreds of programs, some private, some based at community-based organizations, many with only a handful of employees. Could we look to the early educators’ union as a model for organizing adult educators?

How would it work?

  • Early childhood educators under the MECEU would bargain directly with the Commonwealth rather than individual employers.
  • In early education, directors are also teachers, so directors would be included in the bargaining unit.
  • Since this is so different from a traditional union, MECEU is seeking legislation to allow this new structure.*
  • (more…)

Can ABE Piggyback off Early Childhood Ed. Unionization?

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

MTA and AFT Investing in Organizing Early Childhood Educators-Can We Make ABE the Next?

As you may have heard, two unions (the MTA and AFT) are putting resources into organizing early childhood educators (see Globe article, 10/10/11).

While there are ways these workers are different from us (they usually work full time, work on state contracts rather than state grants, etc.), there are probably more ways that we are alike (marginalized, small numbers at each site, pay is pitted against numbers served, etc.).

MCAE is planning to connect with an organizer from the campaign to create a statewide union for early childhood care workers.

We’d like to get some questions answered, including:

  • How did this effort start?
  • What made the unions decide to invest in this?
  • What happens to those workers who are already unionized?
  • Does it matter that our field is mostly part-time?
  • Do you have other questions that you’d like asked?

    Post your comments below!

    Read more:

    The Advocate, the newspaper of the Mass AFT, featured a terrific article about the MECEU on the front page.

    Visit the website of the Massachusetts Early Childhood Educators Union to learn more about the campaign to organize workers and improve program quality.

    Update: Hotel strike settled!

    Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

    Good news since our last posting about the strike at the Hilton San Francisco, where the COABE conference will be held this year.

    UNITE HERE and Hilton reach settlements in Chicago, San Francisco, and Hawaii*

    After extensive negotiations, Hilton leads industry with contracts that move workers forward as the industry emerges from recession.

    After many months of bargaining, UNITE HERE and Hilton Worldwide have reached tentative settlements in three major markets–Chicago, San Francisco, and Honolulu. The agreements signal a major breakthrough in citywide hotel negotiations nationally and a path forward for hotel workers as the hospitality industry emerges from the recession. The tentative agreements, affecting nearly 4,000 workers, have been recommended by the respective negotiating committees in each city and are subject to ratification by the local membership.

    COABE Conference to be held at Union Boycotted Hotel

    Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

    This year, the attendees of the COABE Conference in San Francisco might have to cross a picket line to get to their workshops, plenaries, and networking sessions.

    That’s because the Hilton San Francisco Union Square is currently under boycott by the UNITE/HERE hotel and restaurant workers union.

    Photo courtesy of UNITE HERE Local 2

    Despite Hilton’s parent company, Blackstone Group, having recently received many millions of taxpayer dollars in Federal bailout money, Hilton is demanding benefit and pension cuts from its workers, a 40% workload increase, and no raises. Yet Blackstone saw an increase in net income of 23% last quarter. Workers, who are the San Francisco counterparts of our ABE and ESOL students, are currently working without a contract. By any measure, this is not fair or just. (more…)

    Why Unions Still Matter in Adult Education

    Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

    First in a series of profiles about the unionized ABE programs in Massachusetts

    An interview with Jim Kaplan of the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE)

    by Steven DeMaio

    Jim Kaplan

    Jim Kaplan has been teaching in adult education since 1977. He became involved in union activities as soon as he started working at SCALE and has served as a leader of the SCALE union since 1979. In this interview, he reflects on his many years of experience and offers his perspective on the continuing importance of unions in the adult education field in Massachusetts.

    Why is it still important for adult education teachers to organize, given that they are so widely dispersed across institutions with little central leadership?

    Jim K: It’s precisely the same as for any other workers. When we‘re organized, we have better chances of protecting our working conditions and, within a narrower range, of protecting and improving our income and benefits. Any worker with his or her head glued on well ought to be concerned about collective strength.

    Do you think that groups of adult education teachers are best organized within schools or across schools?

    Jim K: To be effective in organizing, we have to be dealing with people we see face-to-face. That means we need building blocks within individual schools. (more…)

    Organizing a Union: Some Steps

    Monday, November 15th, 2010

    STEP ONE: Know Your Rights

    1) The right to join a union is a human right. “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to…encourag[e] the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and [to] protect… the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection.” [from Declaration of Human Rights]