It was early in Joseph Daily’s teaching career when he got married and started having kids. With more expenses, he was looking for ways to economize. He decided to drop his NEA membership to save on union dues, but he soon realized that not belonging came at a higher cost.
Even without dues expenses, money was still tight for the family of five, and when the PE teacher looked around his district in Yuma, Arizona, he realized that he was surrounded by educators just like him — woefully underpaid and stretched in a “million different directions.” Daily rejoined NEA because he knew that without the union nothing was going to change.
“I rejoined the union because I believe that with the power of numbers behind us we could fight for better teacher pay, bring down our class sizes, get special training in various professional development areas, and much more,” Daily says. “I joined because I also cared about my colleagues. I hated seeing first year teachers leaving because they couldn’t make ends meet money-wise or they didn’t feel welcomed or supported. I joined to make a difference for those teachers so they will stay.”
Daily is now a vocal union advocate in his district with the following message – membership has many rewards.
For new educators or seasoned veterans who want to learn more about what you’ll get for your dues investment and how you can reap additional rewards through your involvement, here’s a primer on what National Education Association membership means. (First tip: Your membership means you belong to the local, state, and national Association, just as Joseph Daily is a member of the Yuma Education Association, Arizona Education Association, and NEA.)
Help on the Job
With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, educators now have the opportunity to raise their voices to fight for what their students need. To help explain the opportunities ESSA presents and prepare members for implementation, NEA created a short ESSA explainer video and has posted resources and tools to help you and your colleagues get started. Check out getESSAright.org to make the most of these opportunities, see tips and tools to learn more, and get involved.
NEA hosted a series of webinars that you can see at getessaright.org/webinars. These videos showcase what your colleagues are doing to make the most of the opportunities and to offer tips and tools on how to get involved at the state and local level.
NEA also funds and organizes a variety of trainings for NEA members to help them in their profession. NEA’s Human and Civil Rights department understands that education advocacy and social justice advocacy go hand in hand. In its work to achieve equal opportunity and social justice for all students and school employees, the staff provides student-centered, research-based, and educator-driven training Union 101: Making the Most of Membership - NEA Today: