WINDSOR HEIGHTS – Moravia and Earlham teachers made history this week after voting to decertify their unions. It marks the first time teachers in two Iowa school districts not only walked away from the Iowa State Educators Association and National Educators Association in one calendar year, but in one week’s time.
“This is a ‘fish for yourself’ method as opposed to listening to national and state groups who have created a number of ‘dependent” units,’” Moravia teacher Darrin Carson said. “When the teachers found out that everyone could be a part of an alternative option they went for the idea. They voted for an all-inclusive, non-discriminatory process.”
Teachers at Twin Cedars of Bussey were the first school to decertify and then recertify for a local, sovereign bargaining unit. This effort resulted in slashing bargaining time to shreds and emerging with a contract that was amiable, workable and acceptable in record time.
“Moravia and Earlham teachers did not listen to the propaganda and decided to take a bold step for personal and community freedom from state and national very powerful lobbying organizations,” Twin Cedars teacher Donna Huston said. “Now they can focus on what is right for their district, their students and staff. They don’t need to go with an across the state negotiation package that does not fit into their needs and instead angers local boards.”
Pomeroy-Palmer shed the ISEA/NEA six years ago to become an independent, all-inclusive unit to bargain at the local level for the best interest of the district. The union was decertified due to a lack of membership and many of the teachers regrouped as the Professional Educators of Pomeroy-Palmer.
Teachers in Moravia and Earlham followed Pomeroy-Palmer’s path this week as they voted in a certified election to decertify the teachers union. The effort was met with the approval of the majority of their peers in the district bargaining units. Most of the Moravia and Earlham teachers joined Professional Educators of Iowa, which is a professional association and not a union. PEI assists in personal issues through insurance and legal protection as part of their benefit package.
“This isn’t about excluding anyone for local decisions,” Carson said. “This was about decertifying a union so we can include everyone. We want everyone to be included and have an opportunity to be part of the discussions.”
Earlham teacher Jennifer Knight shared the same excitement about the new direction she and her colleagues are moving.
“I am thrilled we will now be working locally with a teamwork approach between teachers, administrators and the school board for the best interest of our students and their success,” Knight said.
“What is really neat is that all but one teacher in the unit voted,” Carson said. “Essentially, everyone took part in this process, and it is exciting to see their enthusiasm to be involved in the discussion.”
Professional Educators of Iowa (PEI) is a professional organization focused on students and advancing the professionalism of educators. PEI is a non-profit, non-partisan, professional organization serving current, retired and future educators, including teachers, administrators and school support personnel as well as those in higher education. PEI promotes teachers as professionals who perform a valued public. PEI does not engage in non-education political activity that may violate members’ personal beliefs. PEI takes positions on education issues after surveying members and receiving a majority vote in support or opposition.