Build advocacy and organizing skills


When you and the other members of your union are organized and act as advocates at the local and state levels, amazing things can happen. In addition to advocacy and organizing trainings at the local and Council level, you can sharpen your union skills at state-wide events.

Contact Jennifer Silves, Bargaining Specialist, for more information.

Bargaining conferences

WEA sponsors annual bargaining conferences on both sides of the mountains, as well as courses at Summer University in late July/early August during odd-numbered years. These conferences offer training on critical union skills.

Course offerings

Bargaining Conferences and Summer U's College of Advocacy and Organizing offer sessions like the following:

Bargaining I and II

Collective bargaining is a fundamentally important means of establishing wages, hours, and working conditions in the public schools, conditions that apply to you and your work and that establish students' learning environment. Toward that end, Bargaining I participants will have the opportunity to practice bargaining skills, techniques and strategies through bargaining simulations, exercises and discussions. Bargaining II builds on the skills taught in Bargaining I and focuses on strategies that local teams can use to bargain assertively for compensation increases. Participants will learn about the effective use of research and external standards, coordinated pattern bargaining, clear proposals and contract language and advanced table strategies.

Grievance I and II

The rights, compensation, and working conditions described in your contract are only meaningful if they are enforced. The grievance process exists to preserve the meaning of the contract and protect the members of your local. These courses examine that process by discussing just cause, due process, and other legal and contractual rights of union members. They also show you how to identify common contract violations, draft and present a grievance, represent members in investigations.

Building Strength through the Bargaining Cycle

The strength to gain a good settlement is best developed over the course of the entire year prior to contract expiration. The locals that get the best results take steps long in advance to select and train bargaining team members, listen to the needs of their members, develop clear goals, establish regular communication with members and community allies, and engage the members in advocating for a fair contract. This session covers how a local association can plan and implement these organizing and communication strategies, build infrastructure, and apply the collective power of the local to put real power behind their bargaining team

Putting Organizing Into Action: How Using Bargaining Support Teams and Peer Review Can Help You Win at the Bargaining Table

This seminar focuses on helping participants understand how to build, harness, and use bargaining support teams and the peer review process throughout the bargaining process as core organizing strategies. When applied effectively these strategies increase member investment, increase Association power, and correspondingly increase our ability to win at the bargaining table. Ideas covered include integrating these foundational organizing strategies into the Association’s bargaining effort in a way that encourages creative thought, member-investment in the bargain, focus, and member driven decision-making.