When Amy Broad, a building rep at Bridgeport’s Winthrop School, talks about union membership with teachers at her school, she puts it in a historical context. Without the sacrifice of the Bridgeport Education Association (BEA) members who went on strike in 1978, many of whom went to jail, teachers would not have the wages, benefits, and working conditions they enjoy today.
“A lot of people who are teaching now aren’t aware of what the strikers actually did,” the kindergarten teacher says. “We have the advantage of having prep periods, and pay, and collective bargaining, and all of that, and some teachers today don’t know where that came from. They don’t realize what was going on back before 1978, and that those things had to be fought for.”
The Bridgeport Strike was a defining moment for teachers in Connecticut, and its lessons about the importance of teachers sticking together still hold true today. Read more
“Union business is a professional responsibility and makes a big difference,” says Waterbury teacher and building rep Anthony Della Calce. The sixth-year math educator who teaches at North End Middle School is new to being a building rep, but not to understanding the vital role his union plays in teachers’ lives.
“Belonging to a union means we can focus on teaching rather than on struggling to make ends meet,” Della Calce says. “Being members of a union allows us to go into the classroom and be the best teachers we can be.” Read more