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
Teachers are extremely busy people, but despite all of the responsibilities already on her plate Torrington teacher Sarah Mobley decided to step up and become a building rep in her local.
Explaining the value of union membership and the reason she’s decided to get involved Mobley says, “The union is our voice. We are stronger together, and as a collective we can do more and speak up for the change we want in our schools. That is a power that union membership provides, and it’s important to be a part of that.”
The Southwest Elementary School teacher is in her first year as a building rep.
“I stepped up because I found out that my local didn’t have any building reps who teach the arts, so as an art teacher I thought, well, if they don’t have anybody in the arts, it’s my responsibility to step forward and take that position,” Mobley says. Read more