Q: What makes MECEU a non-traditional union?
A: MECEU is a union because we believe that everyday people have the power to change things when we unite; It's a non-traditional union because teachers, directors, and other staff are joining together in one organization across the state to make our voices heard.
MECEU is seeking to give early educators a voice at the state level. The state has taken on more and more authority to regulate the early education field, and now needs to do more for educators' professional development. Early educators are coming together to demand more resources, more respect, and a say in the decisions that affect our profession (decisions about the future of our field should be made with us, not to us). All of us want this field to be better-- not just for ourselves, but for the children and families whose lives we touch. We think it will be better if early educators work together to make our voices heard.
Q: I want more resources, but won’t that raise child care costs for parents or put my center out of business?
A: No! The last thing we want to do is make early childhood education even more expensive for parents, or to put centers at risk. The money for resources for early educators can't come from parents or programs; we are uniting early educators across the state to find more public funding for teachers and children. It's much better for children when their teachers aren't working second or third jobs, struggling to afford their health insurance, or constantly leaving the field because they can't make ends meet. It's better for parents, families, and communities when all children have access to high-quality early education. We all have an interest in making sure early educators have the resources they need, and that they are in the field for the long haul.
Q: Is MECEU against directors/owners?
A: Absolutely not! Many of us are directors and owners, and we know from our own experience that we often can't afford to provide the pay or benefits to our employees that we wish we could-- it's a matter of resources. The problem is that we need more resources to assist teachers and directors in early childhood education. MECEU isn't against anyone; we’re for kids and for all the people who make up their learning environment.
Q: Will MECEU interfere with how I run my classroom / program / business?
A: No! MECEU is you and your colleagues getting together to solve problems as a profession. You, and you alone, make decisions about how to do your job and what is in your best interest.
Q: Does getting involved with MECEU mean that I have to pay dues?
A: The goal of this campaign is to build a non-traditional union of 5,000 early educators in Massachusetts, and to negotiate with the state over issues such as teacher recruitment and retention and professional development opportunities. After an agreement is reached with the state, early educators will have an opportunity to vote on the proposed agreement. Once a majority vote 'yes' and accept the agreement, early educators will then begin the work of setting up their new union: creating bylaws, electing officers, and setting the dues. Dues are used to support MECEU's work on behalf of early educators. All decisions of the new union (including the amount paid for dues) must be voted on and accepted by the membership, by you. For more information on dues and the process to forming a non-traditional union, see MECEU CandyLand!
Q: How is MECEU funded?
A: Massachusetts Early Childhood Educators Union is a joint effort of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts (AFTMA) and the Massachusetts Teachers Association (NEA). Together, AFTMA and MTA represent more than 140,000 educational workers in Massachusetts. Having such a strong force backing early educators makes this campaign for a non-traditional union all the more powerful. AFT and MTA support early educators building a non-traditional union because they recognize early education as the first rung on the education ladder.
Q: What will MECEU do for me?
A: MECEU is a vehicle for change, but we need drivers like you to take this "change-mobile" in the direction you want to go! So, really, the question is, “What are we, as early educators, going to do for ourselves?” MECEU campaign representatives can provide the organizing experience, legwork, and some of the resources, but MECEU is only as successful, active, and vibrant as the early educators who lead it.
Q: Does MECEU provide any services for early educators?
A: Yes! MECEU offers free professional development workshops across the state. Go to our events calendar to find out if workshops are being offered near you, or visit our resources page to learn more!
Q: Can parents and community members be involved in MECEU?
A: Yes! Can you spread the word about MECEU to your child's teachers, or connect us with educators you know? Can you talk about the importance of early education in your community? You can start by signing up for our email list today, and showing your support for early educators!
Q: What can I do to help build MECEU?
A: Visit the Take Action section of our website to find out how you can take action today.