Why am I a union member?

By Brianne Allbee

Brianne Allbee is a high school math teacher in the Beloit Turner School District.

There are dozens of reasons to join the Turner Education Association and WEAC.

I could join the union because of the representation I gain; the peace of mind of knowing that I never have to enter a meeting alone.

Being in the union means I always have support if a disciplinary situation arises.

I could join the union because of the legal representation that I know I will have.

I could join the union for the professional development and licensure support. WEAC will help with National Board certification, PDP writing, and more.

I could join the union for the hour of financial planning that I am offered free each year.

I could join the union for the hour of free time with a lawyer to do things like write a will or buy a house.

I could join the union for the discounts that the WEAC Savers’ Club gets me.

I could join the union to help provide scholarships to students of our school.

And I could keep going.

Each of these is a tangible benefit I feel directly, but none of them are the main reason why I really believe union membership is important.

I believe that a strong public education system is crucial to our society. All children deserve the right to a quality education that helps them be ready for college and career, an education that challenges them and helps them to grow to their full potential.

Right now, the political climate is such that more and more tax dollars are being diverted from public education. If this continues, we will end up with a school system that only benefits people who have the money to send their children to school. The divides in this country between the have’s and have not’s will only continue to grow. Some students will never have the chance to see what they could grow to be.

We must fight this; we must stand up and fight to keep the public education system sound. Union membership helps me do that. Union dues are used to fight against agendas that harm public education. Those groups working against public education have the money they need to push their agendas through legislature. Those of us for public education need to have the same backing, and union membership gives us that.

It may seem like a lot of money for each of us to pay individually, but every one of those dollars is worth it to keep public education in this state strong. If the teachers of public schools are not willing to fight for their school systems, how can we expect anyone else to?