Our Union

Uphold Union Values

There is no stronger voice or advocate for our nation’s educators and the students they serve than the National Education Association. Our staff see the work as more than a job; we see working for the country’s largest labor union as a calling.

And yet, the leaders who run our proud union are using the very same crony corporate playbook against us that we work so hard to dismantle.

We could give you 3 million reasons why we’re fighting for a fair contract that ensures NEA upholds its union values—but read in our own words why we’re ready to strike.

“We all deserve a working environment where we feel safe, supported and respected. Wages that keep pace with inflation and enable us to support our families are critical to those goals.” 

Angelica C. Castañon
8.5 years of service

“I have been a member of NEA for almost thirty years. While I had a choice of which Union I could join, I chose NEA because I believe in the mission and values. As an NEA employee, I work in the Center for Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy on retirement security. Yes, my day-to-day work is protecting the pensions of our members and making sure they can retire with dignity. Yet NEA is using the same tactics as our opponents in proposing to reduce retirement income by reducing the multiplier. The NEA retirement plan is in great shape and there are no apparent reasons for the proposal. How do I advocate strongly for our members when NEA doesn’t live by its own beliefs? NEA, why?”

Michael Hairston
5 years of service

“I want NEA to practice what they preach by upholding its union values, giving us a fair contract, and showing that they value their own employees.”

Toni Smith
13 years of service

“I’m standing with my NEASO union brothers and sisters because the same rights we fight for on behalf of educators are the same rights we deserve”

Tiffany Cain
19 years of service

“My NEASO colleagues are true believers in public education. They literally step up and do what is right by members EVERY SINGLE DAY. NEA needs to do the same: Value our expertise and recognize our commitment EVERY SINGLE DAY.” 

Jennifer Locke
13 years of service

“My colleagues are beyond extraordinary. NEA works because we do and without our brains and muscle, not a single NEA wheel can turn. This is a moment of reckoning for all of us. And I think one of the questions we have to ask is, ‘is it okay to work under a set of values and respect for the members we serve and not demand the same from the organization that employs us?'”

The answer is clearly, no. And therefore, we must use our power and the passion for our members to remind them of how extraordinary we are.”

Therman Evans
15 years of service

“NEASO staff are the backbone of this organization. We deserve the respect and acknowledgment of our hard work through a fair contract.”

Bianca Singh
4 years of service

“Over the course of a career in labor relations that now spans three Brood X periodical cicada visits and 400-500 contract negotiations, the closest thing that I have seen to NEA’s behavior in this round of bargaining is when the Tea Party started taking over school boards and tried, sometimes successfully, to break the union.”

Andy Jewell
7 years of service

Our Demands

The National Education Association—the largest union in the country—is asking staff to take a pay cut now and well into the future. NEA leaders want to take away approximately 5% of its staff salaries, pay more for healthcare, and lose money in their retirements.

“We’ve worked tirelessly through a pandemic to help ensure educators are valued for the amazing work they do for our school communities. NEA leaders should practice what they preach and value their own employees.”

Dorothy Vu
3.5 years of service

“NEA is only as strong as our staff—NEASO staff—make it. We tirelessly advocate for fair contracts for our members  across this nation. At the very least, we should expect the same for ourselves—a fair contract with wages that keep pace with inflation and security in our retirement.”

Heather Griffin
19.5 years of service

“NEASO members have worked days, nights, weekends, and holidays to help NEA members and NEA affiliates address their urgent pandemic safety and health needs—and we haven’t thought twice about it because we always step up to do the Association’s work. It’s past time for NEA to step up and do what’s right for NEASO members: a fair salary increase and no cut in pensions and health care.”

Joel Solomon
15.5 years of service

“As an educator of color, I almost left the classroom because I couldn’t envision a path for myself as a teacher. That’s why I became engaged in my union. I’ve spent my career at NEA creating and implementing professional learning programs to engage and inspire our early career educators and educators of color. We want them to see a future for themselves. And just like our members, I believe in the union values that bring us together. We deserve a fair contract, so we can keep creating opportunities for educators to lead in their profession.”

Ambereen Khan-Baker
4 years of service

“It is now time that NEA provide us with a fair contract. We are the model for other states, and they are they are not setting a good example!”

Anthony Brisson
5.5 years of service

“We deserve a fair contract that values the countless hours we work on behalf of NEA members and students. I want to feel appreciated by NEA — not by their words, but by their actions.”

Annie Wells
7 years of service

“At NEA, I fight for higher salaries for all educators. NEA is proposing inadequate pay increases and detrimental benefit cuts that we tell our members never to accept — across the board increases that are less than inflation, frozen steps, and reduced pension benefits. These proposals hurt our newer NEASO colleagues the most, many of whom are struggling with student loan payments. NEA needs to respect its employees and provide a fair package, so that NEASO members can focus on advocating for NEA members, not worrying about supporting themselves and their own families.”

Marcy Magid
14 years of service


The Virtual Picket Line

Show your solidarity and help us secure a fair contract that upholds NEA’s union values.

“I am prepared to strike to secure a fair contract with wages that keep pace with inflation, that value my knowledge and skills, and that will allow me to stay at NEA. My colleagues deserve to be valued for their deep dedication to our nation’s educators and their contributions to fulfilling the mission of the Association.”

Chris Donfrancesco
4 years of service

“I’ve been employed by NEA as a NEASO staff member for 22 years. And in those 22 years, I’ve witnessed acts by my union brothers and sisters that not only inspire me but inspire NEA members nationwide. There are too many stories to tell. Working long hours, working late, working weekends—even, at times, missing a family event due to NEA’s overwhelming workload. I—we—do those things because we believe in NEA’s mission. My hope is that NEA shows that they believe in us.”

Eric Lewis
22 years of service

“Have you ever tried to pump breast milk in an elementary school parking lot during dismissal time? I have—on a reporting trip to Kentucky for NEA Today in 2008. It was pretty awkward, even more so when the school bus driver knocked on my side window. But hey, I got the story. And it was a good one—about the great work of our members who teach near U.S. military bases. I love my job and, over the 17-plus years I’ve worked at NEA, I have been willing to sacrifice my nights and weekends to talk to our members, to tell their stories, and to help fulfill the mission of this great union. In return, I expect NEA to treat me and my family—and my NEASO colleagues and their families—with the same respect that we demand for NEA members and their families. This contract negotiation is about upholding union values. My colleagues and I have embraced those values; we have lived those values. It’s time for NEA Management to do the same.”

Mary Ellen Flannery
17 years of service

“I came to NEA because, as the product of public schools and the spouse of a former NEA educator, I believe passionately in the work our members do and union values. I’ve stood side by side with my NEASO colleagues for years as we’ve endured long campaign hours, open-ended travel assignments supporting #RedForEd that spanned holidays and family events, and helped educators and parents navigate the radical disruption of the pandemic while doing our best to take care of our own families. All we ask for in return is a fair contract that enables us to support our families and plan for a secure retirement. We enthusiastically fight for these values on behalf of NEA members every day, but NEA Management is not upholding union values for NEASO staff.”

Richard Allen Smith
6 years of service

“I’m ready to strike because it’s past time for NEA to respect the staff and the work that we do. Currently, it is impossible for staff to get to the top of the salary schedule if they’re not already there. I’m ready to strike because NEA wants me to walk away from the table with less than I have now. They’re telling me that I’m not worth the salary and benefits I’ve earned.”

Branita Griffin Henson
35 years of service

Your Voice is Our Power

NEASO’s motto is “One voice. One sound.” That is because we know that when we speak together, we will be heard by the people in power.

“I write about the federal legislation and policies that our nation needs in order to give all students the great public schools they deserve. By working to strengthen public schools, the sisters and brothers of NEASO strengthen our society and democracy. NEA demands fairness for its members, and NEASO members are demanding fairness from NEA.”

Joye Mercer Barksdale
5.5 years of service

“NEASO staff are the backbone of NEA. I don’t show up every day just for the job; I show up because I believe in the work we do and to support my colleagues. We show up for each other. I do this work for my community, for our members, and for my family. I give everything I have, every day because I honestly believe in our mission AND I want more for my nieces, nephews, and future generations. It’s time for NEA to honor our work, our sacrifices, and our commitment with a fair contract.”

Sedelta Oosahwee
4 years of service

“Normally I’m unapologetically proud of where I work and of what we do. But these days, it feels like respect for union values is one-sided. It’s disappointing. NEA can’t talk the talk to others, if it’s not walking the walk with its own.”

Stacey Grissom
15 years of service

“I have proudly worked at NEA for over 22 years, first writing advocacy materials to help support pro-public education policies, and now working to ensure our internal systems facilitate strong member voice in the Association. I have seen colleagues go above and beyond time and again to support the educators we serve, particularly in times of crisis like the current pandemic. I want a fair contract that reflects the true value NEASO members bring to NEA. It is demoralizing to see NEA management proposing for staff the very same things they would fight against for NEA members.”

Carrie Lewis
22 years of service

Help Us Spread the Word

Every new voice makes our demands louder. Add yours by using the tools in our Solidarity Toolkit. Update your social channels, meeting backgrounds, email signatures, and more with our NEASO Strong messaging.

“I craft messages and materials used to advocate for fair working conditions before the U.S. Congress. NEA needs to practice what it preaches by giving me and my NEASO colleagues the respect we deserve and the compensation we have earned.”

Barbara Moldauer
12 years of service

“I have been working with other NEASO members to make sure that NEA members can provide school meals to students during the pandemic. We are pushing Congress—day and night—to do the right thing to make sure that all children have access to free school meals so that no child falls through the cracks as we build back from the economic crisis. We have put in countless hours, and we don’t want to stop because those children need us to fight for them.”

Christin Driscoll
8 years of service

“I build, secure, and maintain the NEA’s computer systems, but I also help the state affiliates when they need a hand with new technology. I work in the field of cloud computing where technology is constantly evolving, and change is never-ending. However, my union values, such as good-faith bargaining, solidarity, following the negotiated contract, and looking out for my brothers and sisters has remained constant.

The states affiliates that I support would be appalled at the stance that NEA Management is taking”

Jay Hunter
14.5 years of service

“The talent, knowledge, and commitment NEASO members bring to NEA is beyond measure. I expect NEA to value our work and live up to the tenets it promotes to its own members. I stand with NEASO.”

Brenda Alvarez
15 years of service

“When the nation went fully virtual because of the pandemic, our work on the digital engagement team became even more vital. We helped educators understand their rights and adapt to new ways of teaching. We helped our supporters advocate for—and secure—billions of dollars in COVID relief for schools. We mobilized our members in record numbers during the election and now there is an educator and NEA member in the White House. We supported locals on strike when in person actions were prohibitive. We created new models to recruit and retain members. We work hard for educators, and we want NEA to respect us with fair pay, fair benefits, and retirement security.”

NEA Digital Team Members:

Annie Rosenthal
1 year of service
Justin Conley
3 years of service

Natieka Samuels
3.5 years of service
Erin Wagner
3.5 year of service

Shumway Marshall
3.5 years of service