Legislative report submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Rayann Hansen, school counselor at Mount Logan Middle School in Logan School District
One of my vivid memories as a young, very young, college student was the summer I spent harvesting lettuce in the fields surrounding Salinas, California. The days were long and exhausting. I often reflect back on the life-changing lessons I learned from that experience. At the time, I was completely uneducated and naïve about the importance of unions and their cause. Yes, I was a strike breaker—a “scab.” I had no idea who Cesar Chavez was or what the United Farm Workers Union represented.
As a seasoned educator and having served as a local president, I have come to appreciate the power of unions and the difference our union makes in our profession. There is strength in numbers and in organizing.
We are fortunate to have a very strong UEA Legislative Team who work tirelessly to make sure we have a voice in bills/laws/policy that impact our profession. However, they do not have the same impact that you and I have at our local level. Legislators are YOUR elected officials, and YOU are their constituents. They want to hear your voice, your stories, your concerns, and your solutions. We are living in uncharted territory and no one knows what is needed in our classrooms more than you.
I invite you to begin your advocacy with three simple steps:
- Log onto the UEA website (myuea.org/legislature) and visit “Under the Dome.” This site will keep you updated on what your Association is doing to make a difference.
- Learn who your legislators are and how to contact them.
- Choose one education-related bill and contact your legislator(s) with your story. Let them know how the bill impacts students in your classroom. Remember: student success is at the heart of everything we do.
“Si, se puede” was the rally cry of Cesar Chavez. “Yes, it can be done” is the literal translation or “Yes, we can.” All of us working together can effect change. I have witnessed myself the impact that UEA, local associations and individuals have on the political landscape in Utah. I encourage you to get involved. Education is our livelihood and our passion. “Together we can.”