As you read this, our exceptional PK-12 schools and institutions of higher education are abuzz with activity as learners return to learning. In the offices and workspaces of our outstanding public employees, the work of providing North Dakotans with vital public services continue unabated.
Regardless of your position in public service, I hope your summer was restful and restorative, despite the record heat.
I am writing today regarding the importance of your membership in North Dakota United. ND United is the largest professional organization in the state with over 11,500 members in communities from Fortuna to Fairmount, Bowman to Bathgate and all communities in between.
Our members are K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, and other public employees that provide the services that North Dakotans deserve and depend on every day. As president of ND United, I want to thank you for your membership in our union as well as for your outstanding work that makes North Dakota among the very best places to live and work.
At North Dakota United, we continue to center our work around three guiding principles: growing our membership, activating our membership, and increasing the size of our government relations footprint.
- Membership growth is essential for a membership-based organization. More members translate into more influence where it matters most and makes our collective voice harder to ignore. I am happy to report that ND United was one of just eight NEA state affiliates that grew its active membership in the last year. In fact, NDU’s growth was bested by just five other state affiliates!
- Member activation is a key component in articulating our message to the decision makers who need to hear our take on the important issues facing our members and the institution in which we serve. Even now, during the interim, we are working with policy makers to write administrative rules for legislation passed last session, ensuring that laws are implemented in a way that honors the work of our members.
- If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: every decision that effects the work-lives of our members is a political decision made in Washington, DC, Bismarck, ND, or by local political subdivisions. By growing our membership, and increasing our member activity opportunities, we will increase our ability to influence legislation that affects your lives at the local, state, and national levels.
As I have noted in previous communications, ND United, working with our members, was able to mitigate the provisions of a bill that negatively impacted collective bargaining for K-12 educators. We fought hard to defeat a bill whose impact would end the defined benefit retirement plan for state employees. We defeated a series of voucher schemes that would take public dollars and give them to private schools and to homeschool parents, leaving less money to educate the children in our exceptional public schools. That is the power of collective action.
But we are not finished.
We remain committed to helping our members overcome the challenges in their workspaces. We know that there will continue to be increased pressure to privatize many services that are currently being provided by dedicated public employees. Higher education will continue to face challenges to their academic freedom as well as their budgets. And it’s a lock that K-12 educators will see more efforts to make publicly raised funds available for private education.
That is why your membership is so important. Working together, we will continue to grow, to mobilize, and to make our voices heard. More importantly, our collective action increases the likelihood of success in our efforts to shine a bright light on the work you do and improve the conditions in which you do your important work.
Here’s something else: membership is everybody’s business! Share your story with your colleagues. Let them know why you belong to ND United and why your membership is important to you. The number one reason that people do not join organizations like ours remains that no one has asked them. If you would like help sharing your story, just let me know. I will make sure that one of our expert NDU Field Consultants contacts you with great advice and support!
Our union is strong, and we are committed to making it stronger. Your membership, your activism, and your voice are essential to our growth.
On behalf of your NDU Board of Directors, THANK YOU for your membership and for your excellent work in service to others.
Nick Archuleta, President of North Dakota United