Workers' Rights and Economic Justice

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Educator working conditions are student learning conditions. Students’ needs and interests are undermined when educators are denied collective bargaining rights in the workplace.

The right to organize and join a union is so fundamental that it is included in Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

America’s labor unions have led the fight for working families, winning protections such as the 8-hour day and the 40-hour week, overtime rights, and access to health care and retirement security. Today, the fight continues both to retain these vital rights and a safe and healthy workplace.

Attacks against collective bargaining rights have greatly reduced the number of unionized workers in the United States, leading to an erosion of the middle class, skyrocketing income inequality, an increase in poverty and a loss of dignity for employees at work. We support strong unions and employee rights for all workers as a matter of principle, and because reducing poverty is the single most effective way to improve the lives of the students educated in our public schools and colleges.

In recent years, attacks have increased sharply against public employee unions, in general, and educator unions, in particular.

Educator unions:

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  • Improve employee pay, benefits and working conditions.
  • Give employees more power to stand up for good practices at work and sound policies at the state and federal levels that improve the quality of education provided to all students.
  • Reduce income inequality.
  • Increase employee well-being and reduce staff turnover.
  • Improve student performance.

MEJA opposes state and federal efforts to diminish the rights of employees to form and sustain strong unions.