Since the inception of our caucus, members have discussed how we want to transform our unions for the better. An opportunity to take a big step toward those changes is coming our way. WVEA elections are coming up -- president, vice president, and three (at-large) executive committee seats will be up for election -- and as a caucus, we want to run people for those seats.
This idea was born from a lot of conversations within our education and labor community. After setting some caucus goals this summer in Bridgeport, and talking through some of the best ways to achieve those goals with other unionists in Philadelphia this summer, AND THEN through many calls, texts, and emails with educators throughout West Virginia—we’re pushing forward with a plan that we feel will help us continue to make our unions more open, democratic, and powerful.
Through our own campaign and (hopefully!) victory, we want to transform one of our unions. From there, we know it will help pressure our other unions to work together more closely and continue to press for change.
WVEA’s Delegate Assembly happens every year at the end of April. It’s a conference where almost everything for WVEA is decided: the budget, what new initiatives they’ll take up for next year, along with officer elections, etc. Generally, the candidates for those positions are not widely announced before the Delegate Assembly and the membership at large doesn’t really get a chance to voice their support for any one candidate. We hope to change that.
But we don’t want this to be the traditional run for union elections. If we believe in running our unions differently, then we should also campaign differently. We’re hoping to involve as many people in the process as possible! Here’s an outline of the process:
Nominations: The caucus will be accepting nominations for people that want to run for these offices until Jan 1. Caucus Nomination forms are live now! Find the form here: https://forms.gle/J5LemotxjD8TSHL38
Candidate Forum: On Jan 14, we’ll host a live, video forum where the caucus candidates will tell us about themselves and their vision for WVEA. We’ll also upload a video of the forum afterwards so others can watch it. (The forum will be open to ALL WV teachers and service personnel so that they can ask the caucus candidates questions)
Caucus “Primary” Election: From Jan 15 - 21, we’ll open up online voting where any WVEA members of our caucus can vote for who they feel best represents the vision of the caucus. The “winners” of our election will be the people we’ll run for union office at Delegate Assembly.
Campaign: From late January until the April election, our candidates will campaign, and share their vision for what a union can be.
What does this mean for you? Lots of things!
· If you are a WVEA member and are interested in running, please fill out the nomination form! If you know someone who SHOULD run, please tell them OR nominate them. (they have to be a caucus member to run—but they can join now by simply signing up! https://www.wvunitedcaucus.org/join )
· We need all our WVEA caucus members to vote in our primary election! If you know someone who would be interested in voting for our candidates, have them sign up to join the caucus. We want as many WVEA members as possible to have a say in who we select as our slate.
· MOST IMPORTANTLY, we need caucus members to be delegates at WVEA’s Delegate Assembly in April. The only people who decide WVEA’s officers are delegates, and we want you to be one! How do you do that? Every county has local elections to decide who goes as a delegate. Some do it with paper ballots at schools, but many vote at the local meetings. If you’re not going to the meetings, start going and tell them that you want to go to delegate assembly! (One delegate for every 50 members in a county)
We know this update may seem very WVEA-heavy, and you may wonder how any of this will affect you if you’re an AFT or WVSSPA member. We are continuing to work together, across unions, to make change in this state—and we need you to be part of what we’re doing! Please join a call, come to a meeting, or reach out and connect with some of us! We hope to do more member education in the next few months leading up to the legislative session, and we can’t do it without you.