Court ruling doesn't diminish need for unions
I am a math teacher in Beaverton and I am proud to be united with my fellow educators in our union. The recent Supreme Court ruling (Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31) will not change our dedication to fight for better public schools. We will continue to stand together for our students and for working families like ours.
The justices in Washington, D.C., do not know what it's like in an Oregon classroom, the challenges that educators face every day, or the need for us to stand in solidarity with each other.
I became a teacher because I believe public schools give everyone in our communities the best shot at a better future. I personally love working with teenagers, because at that age you can see the adults they will become. Every day when I enter the classroom, I see hope for the future.
I am a union member because my union helps me advocate for my students both in my district and in Salem. Through the union, educators like me unite in calling for reduced class sizes, increased support for students who need extra help, and increased support for teachers to help them create the best possible educational experience for students.
As individuals, we have a limited impact on decisions that are made in our districts and in the state capitol. Through the union, we have a seat at the table to fight for students and good working conditions.
Everyone who works in our school district deserves a living wage and benefits to support and raise their families. In addition to fighting for my students, my union helps me advocate for myself and my colleagues to ensure that we have fair salaries and benefits.
More Oregonians are joining unions every day, which is good for every working American. Just this year, people who work in the private, public and non-profit sectors have united to form unions. Burgerville, Oregon State University and Volunteers of America are some of the most recent examples. We stand with them. Together we can be more effective when negotiating for family wage jobs and working conditions.
I am proud to pay my union dues. Nobody I know plans to leave the union. Instead, we are talking about ways to increase the strength we have together, because we know that's the best thing for our students and for our future.
Lindsay Ray is a high school math teacher in the Beaverton School District and a member of the Oregon Education Association union. Readers can learn more about the union at oregoned.org.