We are getting a lot of questions regarding both Bill Whyte’s email to the bargaining unit as well as a letter from Region 8 that everyone received in the mail a few days ago. Let me explain what is going on with both.
First of all, Region 8 was the regional affiliation GTEA belonged to within WEAC. Each local (like GTEA) is affiliated with a regional body within WEAC. Region 8 used to consist of all the technical college locals within the state of Wisconsin. Region 8 is dissolving as of September 1…
As a result, GTEA as well as the locals from Blackhawk and Waukesha Technical College are being absorbed into Region 7. Region 7 consists of all of the K-12 (and now technical college) union locals around the Milwaukee region. Region 7 has a robust staff, office, and services for us. I’ve already met with the Region 7 people, and I am extremely pleased with them. I actually think we are going to make a lot more progress with Region 7 than we did with Region 8. They have more resources and more money, and that’s good for GTEA.
When we pay dues, we actually pay separate dues to four separate entities: 1. GTEA as a local 2. Region 8 (now Region 7), 3. WEAC, and 4. the NEA national organization. That’s why dues are set just above $700 a year. You receive resources and services from all four subsets of the organization.
If you like, I can break down each component of your dues and show you where the money goes and what you get for it. 2016-2017 dues are not officially set in writing, but they will be set on August 1. I expect NO significant changes in dues amounts for next year.
In terms of Bill Whyte’s email to the bargaining unit:
First of all, Bill was very unclear. All bargaining unit members received either a 1%, 1.25% or 1.3% base wage increase for 2016-2017. Dues paying GTEA members received that, as did non-dues paying bargaining unit members. Being a dues paying member did NOT leave you with less of a base wage increase than non-dues paying members. The college is not using the correct terminology (GTEA member vs bargaining unit member).
Let me be clear about something: GTEA has repeatedly requested time at Inservices to explain all of this to people face-to-face. We have not been approved. We asked yet again for a slot during this Fall’s upcoming Employee Learning Day. It was not approved. Gateway does not think that GTEA should be allowed to use any time during the workday to educate people on what is happening. This is why it is imperative that you attend the Socials we have.
It is ILLEGAL for the college to discriminate against someone because he or she pays dues to a union (federal law). Additionally, the college does NOT have a list of those who pay dues and those who do not. Therefore, they have no way of knowing who is who…
I am presently in the process of arranging some very positive things for GTEA. In short, the NEA is coming to see us in October (yes, the NATIONAL organization). I’ve been lobbying Washington, D.C. very strongly over the last several months, and they are listening. I’ll be in touch soon with details as to the dates they are coming. I know they WANT to meet with GTEA members, and they want to help us.
It is absolutely critical that we stay together right now. I understand the impact of dues… I have an aging mother and a monthly student loan payment over $1100/ month. We all have challenges. But if we give up, then we will truly be lost. That I guarantee.
Please email me directly with any questions you may have, or call me…
Suzanne G. Sublette, PhD
President Elect- Gateway Technical Educator’s Association