Friday, November 02, 2007

Team ISEA Holds 2007 Fall ESP Conference

The ISEA Fall ESP Conference was held this past Friday evening and Saturday through lunch at Adventureland Inn in Altoona with over 70 ESP members participating. ISEA had secured a grant from NEA to pay for "teams"--two members per ESP local to participate. Pictured below are Team ISEA members from Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Waterloo and Oelwein enjoying a light supper before the conference began. Jim Young, NEA Director from Cedar Falls is pictured on the left (in orange shirt).

NEIEU led the way in conference registrations with 28 Team ISEA members from across their unit. We recognized NEIEU for their great effort by honoring them with one FREE registration for the 2008 Summer Conference for an ESP member from NEIEU. Pictured below are Team ISEA members from West Delaware, Nashua-Plainfield and NEA Director Kathy Williams from Davenport (far right in right photo).

Kicking off the conference was Toni Graham (at left) Chair of the ISEA ESP Standing Committee. Toni is a school secretary in Shenandoah. Toni was elected to the position in June 2007 and represents ESP's on the ISEA Executive Board. Following Toni's welcome, I gave a brief welcome before Toni introduced the keynote speaker, Jorge Rivera.

The keynote speaker on Friday evening was Jorge Rivera (pictured at right) of NEA ESP Quality. Jorge's message was focused on, "To Get What We Have Never Had, We Must Do What We Have Never Done!" He shared how important it is to build our membership first, so we are speaking for the majority of our staff. All of us in the session left knowing we have much work to do in building our locals before we can begin to build our salaries.

Making all the arrangements prior to and during the Fall ESP Conference were Team ISEA staff Joann Mackin (on left) Advocacy Specialist and Staff ESP Liaison and Ellen Stone (on the right) Research/Bargaining Secretary and ESP Conference Coordinator. They did a tremendous job in providing a top-notch conference!

Friday evening was topped off with a play presented by the ISEA ESP Standing Committee members, "Outlearning the Wolves – a Learning Fable". Team ISEA ESP leaders had costumes and props to get the point across that we are destined to the same results if we continue doing things in the same manner. The message conveyed was that we need to be life-long learners so that we are constantly on top of the latest methods/research.

On Saturday morning groups rotated through three different sessions led by Team ISEA staff. Pat Shipley (at right) Southwest UniServ Director led a session on: LIVING WAGE: WE DESERVE IT! ARE WE READY FOR IT? The session explained what a living wage campaign is and how to implement it. Participants got practical tips on how to improve wages, benefits and working conditions for their members. Tactics such as community outreach, member involvement and the living wage campaign approach were discussed.

BUILDING RESPECT FOR OURSELVES AND IMPROVING OUR PUBLIC IMAGE session was led by Unit 2 UniServ Director Cindy Carroll (at left). This session helped locals gather valuable information about themselves. An info sheet that can be used “back home” was provided. Members learned how to create and deliver a message to use in their own community. It’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it!

BARGAINING AND RESEARCH ON WAGES AND BENEFITS session was led by Jim Crotty (at right) South Central UniServ Director. His session was designed to assist teams at the table to increase their probability of success in bargaining toward a LIVING WAGE. This session include calculating what a LIVING WAGE is in YOUR community.

Our ISEA ESP Conference concluded Saturday with a delicious lunch, time to reflect on all the information we took in, then we heard from Cory Wofford, from NEA ESP Quality before heading home. Cory's message was inspiring--assuring all that Team NEA stands along side us as our ESP locals begin making their plans for a Living Wage campaign.

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