Recruiting and retaining educators of color in our profession is a goal of our union, and is essential for the well-being of our students and the future of our profession. Fighting for racial equity in our school system is a core value. One powerful tool we have to further this work is our contract, and we improve our contract through collective bargaining.
Our bargaining team has been revamping the bargaining proposals that we developed last school year to fit the new landscape in which we will be bargaining. There are some proposals we will need to put off or tone down in the face of the economic turbulence we currently face. But it is crucial that we amplify proposals designed to better support our educators of color. To do that, we need to listen to our members of color and what they need.
In December, our bargaining team, bargaining committee, and racial equity committee came together to generate and discuss bargaining concepts that center racial equity. We came together again last week, with bargaining and racial equity leaders from Beaverton, Hillsboro, Eugene, and Salem to discuss coordinated bargaining for racial equity—a strategy to strengthen our power by organizing around the same demands in multiple locals.
As a next step, we are working on creating a survey for all our members of color to give feedback on the bargaining concepts that were generated in these meetings or otherwise submitted to the team, and intended to better support members of color in our union and in our schools.