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My View: Join In At MEA Events

By Lois Kilby-Chesley, MEA President

In the next month or two your local Association leadership will be receiving notices about joining upcoming MEA events. Please be sure to contact your local leaders or MEA to find out the process for participation.

Most important to those of us in Maine is the weekend of May 17- 19 when the MEA will be holding its annual Representative Assembly (RA). What is that you ask?

Our website states "MEA's highest governing body is the Representative Assembly which derives its power from and is responsible to the membership. RA delegates are elected by local Associations to meet annually and review the constitution, elect officers, adopt policies, and enact a program budget." Your local leaders will be conducting elections to fill the seats at the MEA-RA.

We usually have around 140 elected participants in attendance. But twice as many are eligible! This means one half of our locals, or clusters of smaller locals, are not sending RA delegates to help pave the road the MEA will follow in the next year. Joining in will ensure that your local Association has a voice.

Even if you can't participate in the RA, you can have a voice in the way our organization functions. At our website you will be able to find forms for New Business Items (action items), proposed Constitutional, Bylaw and Standing Rule changes, and Resolutions (belief statements).

After receiving forms by March 2, 2013, MEA will publish these proposed changes to our MEA Governance Documents in the next Maine Educator so that all members are aware of each, and can discuss them with their local RA delegate. Also Pre-RA Organizational Meetings (PROM) are held around the state for delegates prior to the MEA-RA to discuss upcoming issues.

How else can you join in MEA discussions and trainings? Please attend your local MEA meetings. Each UniServ director holds meetings of District Bargaining Councils (DBC) and Affiliate Council Training (ACT). Watch for these announcements to come your way. The meetings are an excellent chance to network with other members in your UniServ district and to talk about progress in negotiations and other areas of concern. If you are not receiving these meeting announcements and would like to, please call your local UniServ office and share your at-home e-mail. (UniServ locations and phone numbers are in your MEA calendar).

Leading at the local Association level can't be overestimated. Our locals are the important base to our organization. How many times have we heard, "I will be the President/VP/Treasurer/Building Rep because no one else will do it?” Please consider joining in to help out your local.

Do you know educators who haven't yet joined the Association? Most times not joining is the result of not having been asked, or misunderstanding the role of MEA/NEA. Encouraging potential members to join our professional organization helps strengthen our Association.

Last, but certainly not least, consider attending the 2013 NEA Representative Assembly. Your local Association of 150 members or more (or a designated cluster of 150 members) has the opportunity to send a representative to Atlanta, GA during the week of July 1-6. Costs are the responsibility of the local although small reimbursement grants are available through MEA.

Excited about the prospect? You can see more about the 2012 NEA-RA in Washington, DC at

In addition, this year the MEA will be holding elections to fill 7 At-Large RA seats. These seats are based on our statewide membership numbers and the costs are paid by the MEA. You will see more information upcoming on our website and in the Maine Educator. For additional information on the NEA RA contact Linda Heaney.

The MEA is only as strong as our members' participation. We need you! Please join us in leading the way to great public schools for every Maine student.

MEA Benefits Trust

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