Message From IEA President Cinda Klickna

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Most of you are gearing up for another school year – and some of you have already started! So much is going to be decided in this year – who will be our next United States president? And, who will be our next IEA president?

I am in my last year as IEA’s president and can’t believe five years have gone by so fast.

Feel free to contact me at any time with questions, concerns, ideas and information about your local, etc.

And, have a great year.

Early Retirement Option for TRS members ends

The Early Retirement Option has expired. This means that those teachers in the TRS system will:

a. No longer pay the .4 percent contribution that was made for the ERO;

b. Be eligible for a refund.

It is important that every TRS member pay attention to information coming to them from TRS about how this works, what paperwork will be required, and what to consider in making decisions about a refund.

Presidential election

I attended the Democratic National Convention. For an entire week I heard praise for teachers and support staff, the need to support public education, labor and unions! What a nice change from what we are constantly hearing in the media about education.

The 8,000 delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly in July voted by secret ballot to endorse Hillary Clinton for president.

Hillary: “I have this idea that when we’re making decisions about education, we should actually listen to educators.” Hillary has been a champion for public education her entire career. She speaks up for students, for public education, supports unions and our right to collective bargaining, and includes educators in her decision-making.

She was awarded the NEA Friend of Education Award in 1999 for highlighting the importance of healthcare for students and their families and for standing up for public educators. You can learn more about her background by visiting www.strongpublicschools.org.

And, more than 70 IEA members have already signed up to help in the campaign.  Members should contact Bob Haisman to find out how to help.

A change in processing our members

Please let your membership know that we are making a major change in the way we are doing our start-of-the-year work this fall in an effort to get new members into the system faster, so they can access their benefits in the quickest, most efficient way possible.

From now until Oct. 31, all membership changes should be sent to your region office rather than to Springfield. There, associate staff will process all new members and drop all old members from the roster. As soon as new members are entered into the system, they will be receiving a welcome email that contains their member number and a video that instructs them on how to access a digital membership card, deals and discounts, online professional development and other benefits of membership.

Membership chairs should have been notified about this change by email or at Membership Mania meetings in your area. If you could also remind them, we’d greatly appreciate it. In addition, we surveyed membership chairs from around the state and have developed a “best practices” guide that will soon be posted under the Resources tab on the IEA website. Here, membership chairs can learn how their peers across the state are able to find out how new people are hired, when people go on leave, when people leave their jobs and other helpful information. Membership work is difficult and people often end up doing it by default. We hope these two changes – having someone at the region office membership chairs can work with and providing resources to help them – will help make their duties a bit easier.

New employee outreach

This fall, 10,000 new educators and ESPs will be entering our classrooms and schools. I am asking you to join other presidents from across the nation to engage these new hires differently than we have in the past.

The New Hire Engagement Campaign centers on having individual conversations with every new hire in order to identify their interests, their needs, and inviting them to join our collective voice—our union. UniServ Directors will be contacting you regarding training on conducting the individual conversations.

We will also be including the new hire data sheet in the packets you will receive at the regional office membership trainings. This sheet should be completed during the individual conversations and returned to the regional office. We will use the information at the state and national level to engage the new hires via an email campaign.

If you have questions, please contact your UniServ Director and thank you for your work in making the campaign a success.

*****

While some of this information is more directed to the officers and the Executive Board of our local, we wanted you to know some of the changes that we are as a union undergoing to better serve our membership.

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