American Federation of Teachers In The Brazos Valley

I am a school district employee and have been a member of the American Federation of Teachers – Texas Affiliate for about one-and-a-half years. The Texas Affiliate of the AFT is a union-related organization of and for school district employees.

I joined the AFT because I believe in unions and the right of workers to organize collectively, the benefits that unions have brought and do bring to workers and others, and the power of unions to bring positive change to their profession and the communities in which union members live and work.

Over the course of my membership I have thought that I would like to make contact with other school district personnel in my area who are members of AFT-Texas Affiliate. So, the other day I made some phone calls and was able to speak with the Texas Affiliate AFT local organizer for my area. (I would note that the two districts in my immediate area are not union districts.)

I told the organizer that I want to be more than a dues paying member who is eligible for legal representation in the event I have need of it and one whose family will benefit from the life insurance that comes with membership when I die. I shared that I want to be a grassroots member who is connected with other AFT members in my immediate area – whether they are teachers, substitute teachers (like me), custodial or cafeteria staff, or bus drivers – who are investing their lives, careers, and time in the education and development of our nation’s future communnity and nation’s leaders.

It is my desire to meet with AFT-Texas Affiliate members so that we can share our concerns for the education of the children and youth in our schools and the systems in which we teach and work, to talk about the education-related decisions about curriculum and history book content that are currently being made in Austin and to discuss our rights and benefits on the job as workers.

The organizer was very attentive and understanding. She said she was going to speak to the office manager at the regional office in Houston and ask her to pull the names and contact information of the AFT-Texas Affiliate members in my area and  send them to me.

Well, the other day I received an email from the AFT office manager in Houston. Attached was a list of 32 AFT-Texas Affiliate members who teach in the two districts in my immediate area. I actually know some of the people who are on the list.

It is my intention to contact each person on the list, explain the reason for my contact, and ask if they would like to get together as fellow AFT members. Once this has been done and people express an interest in getting together and begin doing so, the organizer said that she would be happy to come to our area and meet with us to give us encouragement and talk about education issues in our district and state. I would like to think that out of all of this we might be able to formally organize an AFT local in this area and enlist other school district employees to join us.

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