President's Message: Stronger Together

We know there is power in numbers and that we’re stronger when we stand together. But with all the challenges we face, from our current bargain to the looming threats from the Supreme Court, we need to get concrete about what that means. 

I believe our union is only as strong as the number of members who we can inspire to take action. Now more than ever we need every member to step up and get involved.


Educators are a diverse group, sometimes with different needs. In PAT, we are Elementary, Middle, and High School teachers. We are Substitutes. We are Counselors, Speech Paths, TOSA’s and Media Specialists. We are parents, community members, and social justice activists. But this diversity is part of our strength.

Although we sometimes have different interests, ultimately PAT’s top priorities reflect what we all have in common—we want what is best for our public schools and all students.

In that vein, I want to thank everyone who came to the last school board meeting. There wasn’t much notice and yet you came, which was incredibly moving to see. We’re going to need even more of this sort of unity and solidarity if we’re going to break the deadlock at the bargaining table.

You can watch my whole speech here, but honestly, it’s not the speech that is my favorite part. I want you to watch what happens here at the end. After we left, the room looked deserted and the Board members were visibly shaken. Our collective voice is powerful.

We’re scheduled for another mediation session with the District on September 21st. We cannot be passive during this process. Your involvement will ultimately dictate the final outcome with our contract.  

It is not enough to take part in one event, go to one meeting, or respond to one survey.  Our Bargaining team needs you ready to take action to demonstrate our support for them at a moment’s notice.

There are also three concrete ways you can display your solidarity right now:

  • Wear your 2nd Year No Contract button every day;
  • Wear blue on Tuesdays;
  • Attend your building PAT meetings to get updates, and practice talking about our issues to others.

These actions, and the ones to come, are the most powerful way you can demonstrate your commitment to your Bargaining Team and show the District that we are dedicated to achieving the Schools our Students Deserve. Our collective actions today are directly correlated to whatever settlement we will reach with the District.

For example:

  • 4,000 PAT members take collective action = a contract we will collectively be happy with.
  • 2,000 PAT members take collective action = a contract we will be OK with.
  • 1,000 PAT members take collective action = a contract no one will be happy with.
  • 100 PAT members take collective action = potentially two more years in negotiations purgatory.

Our bargaining team is fighting for our collective interests.  If we get involved in the fight and take action to support them at the table, we will win and the students we serve will also win! 

In Solidarity,

Suzanne Cohen
PAT President