Secrets of a Successful Organizer


With the new school year beginning, many of us are in touch with the excitement and idealism that are essential to public education: building new relationships, creating knowledge with students, being part of the development of the minds and hearts of young people. And, through this work, expanding the possibility for a more just world where everyone has an opportunity to flourish.

Still, these are difficult times. When we take on local fights for fair contracts and job security - and against punitive evaluation systems, layoffs at UMass Boston and the loss of resources and autonomy to do our jobs well - we are fighting the same forces that are pushing to raise the cap on charters, underfund public education, and take out unions through privatization. Every struggle matters as we build power.

As union members, we have the power to reclaim our workplaces, our dignity and the best of public education. We just need to join with others, identify issues, and find those places where we can begin to use and experience our power.

That Is: Organize.

Of course, it doesn't always feel so simple, which is why the MTA is providing copies of the book "Secrets of a Successful Organizer" to help you and your colleagues exercise power in your workplaces and reclaim public education. You can order copies by e-mailing Ari Mercado at

In the weeks ahead, I will be sharing some chapters with you. This week's chapter helps you think about the question, "Why is everyone so apathetic?" Check out this link and share it with colleagues to better understand how to move past apathy to action.

Here are some ways to build coalitions and power at the state and national levels.

#NoOn2 and #KeeptheCap

The campaign to keep the cap and defeat Question 2 is well underway, but it needs MTA members to use their persuasive power to educate voters. Over and over, members tell the story of discovering the respect the community has for educators when they make phone calls and knock on doors to talk about why we need to vote no on Question 2.

Check with your local president or field representative for information on where to phone bank or canvass in your community, or contact MTA's Grassroots Campaigns Division to set up a canvass by emailing

I hope those of you in the Boston metro area will join me for a phone bank at our Quincy office from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 25.

Privatizer Peyser

While our sisters and brothers at UMass Boston are being threatened with layoffs, those in the Massachusetts Community College Council are still waiting for contracts to be funded and all of us are fighting Question 2, the man behind the madness is speaking at the UMass Boston convocation.

Education Secretary Jim Peyser - who advocates for charter expansion, austerity budgets, the privatization of public education and the elimination of teacher licensure, among other destructive schemes - is speaking at 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 15, in the UMass Boston Campus Center Ballroom. While many of you are working at that time, please plan to come, if you can, for a rally to protest the man and his policies. Learn more here.

Walk-in for Public Education

And EVERYONE, please mark your calendars for the National Walk-in to Save Our Public Schools on Thursday, October 6. MTA locals are asked to join locals across the country in meeting outside your schools and office buildings, carrying signs that speak to local issues and the fight to Save Our Public Schools by voting No on 2, and walking in together as a show of solidarity and commitment to public education.

More information will follow, but reach out to parents and students and prepare to make a clear statement that we are united for our public schools.

More News of Note

  • Wareham Education Association President Brian Fitzgerald got fed up with the lies being spewed by the pro-charter campaign and created this video. Great contribution to the fight, Brian!
  • This past Tuesday, the Democratic State Committee voted overwhelmingly to oppose Question 2 and keep the cap. You can read the resolution here.

In solidarity, and in anticipation of many great things ahead,