Update from Jim Byrne - New President
A union salute to all TEA members!
I wish you all a successful start to this school year as we build our union power at your school sites to organize around the issues affecting you, your co-workers and your students. We want you to feel the power of your union on your campus!
I want to provide a brief introduction of myself as we embark on this journey together. I am originally from Upstate NY and taught 2 years of self-contained ExEd there and later arrived in Tucson in 2011. I taught with the Pima Accommodation School District at the County Juvenile Detention center for 3.5 years before taking on Culturally Relevant history classes at Cholla HS for the past 8 years. I have been a TEA member since 2015, helped with listening tours in 2017, participated in Education Summer 2017, helped organize Cholla for the #RedForEd movement in 2018, became an AR and later the Cholla Area Director from 2019-23.
I am so excited to be in this role for the next two years as your union president. We have already had a resounding start to this year having welcomed 140 new union members at new teacher induction and another 108 the first 2.5 days across the district. So please welcome those 248 new members to their union, help them connect with their site's ARs and feel connected to TEA.
You should have received a ballot to vote on the new SY 23/24 301 plan from the district to your district email. TEA recommends a yes vote on this plan.
In the coming weeks you will also be receiving a link to a ballot to ratify the 23/24 TEA Consensus and White Collar/ Food Services agreements. This will be sent to your personal email on file with TEA. TEA recommends a vote to ratify both agreements. Please reach out with any questions you may have.
TEA has been made aware of a number of AC issues across the district. Please keep communicating with your ARs and submitting Help Desk tickets at tucsonea.org so our Advocacy Committee can track them. This helps me communicate with the district's Operations Team and I can relay information from them to you all. I want to share a quote from Angela Davis that I always find helpful to reorient myself when it feels like things happen over and over again that are unfair, unjust: "I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept."
Too many times we have had to start the school year in this situation. This is unacceptable. Working AC is not too much to ask for, and while it should not be the responsibility of educators to fix these types of problems, it is time for us to work toward the solutions our students need. There is a Bond campaign developing that will go to voters this Fall and a chunk of the money raised will go toward capital infrastructure. It will be up to us to organize and demand HVAC issues are addressed with these dollars. We have shown that when we unite and take action, we can win.
Join TEA for the first Association Representative meeting of the year and site rep training. Whether you're a seasoned AR, brand new, or just considering getting involved in your union, you're invited and encouraged to attend! Click here for the flyer.
When: Wed., August 9th, 5pm-7pm
Where: Tucson High Library
I look forward to the days, weeks, and months ahead as we build TEA together into the union we and our students deserve.
Jim Byrne, TEA President