VEA Convention Pushes Public Education Forward in Virginia

The future of public education in Virginia was given a big shove forward by the members of the Virginia Education Association’s (VEA) annual convention last weekend.

“I have never been at a convention where so many good ideas from all over Virginia were being presented, debated, and passed,” said Fairfax Education Association President Kevin Hickerson. “Virginia’s public schools will be stronger based on our collective work.”

Thirty-five Fairfax Education Association delegates from all classifications of employees trekked to Richmond for three days to participate in business and celebrate accomplishments and victories across the Commonwealth. FEA ESP Chair Theresia Anderson and fellow IA Taylor Gaddy teamed up to help unanimously pass a New Business Item (NBI) that directs VEA to help out with local ESP Living Wage campaigns in Virginia, such as FEA’s own #20by20 campaign.

FEA members were also essential in helping to create an NBI that helps train locals in collective bargaining. We also introduced and passed NBIs that would reverse attacks on teachers in dismissal proceedings that stem from earlier this decade during the McDonnell administration. We also unanimously passed an NBI that would restore all of the funding that uses lottery money for infrastructure.

“We could not have done a lot of this work without the support, collaboration, and ideas of our sisters and brothers in all our locals,” said Hickerson. “We are one strong union when we work together. Without solidarity, our collective voice can potentially be lost.”

VEA President Jim Livingston told delegates in a rousing speech on Thursday that “we need to embrace our collective power” and that legislators who are not with us in the fight for public education are on notice. Three different videos, including this one (link), were shown to fire up and inspire the crowd.

On Friday, VEA held a rally and march to display our support of our #Red4Ed and Fund our Future campaign. The rally lasted about an hour, included Virginia House of Delegate members and showed solidarity in our membership.

That day, the VEA also honored the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus as the “VEA 2019 Legislators of the Year”. The honor was accepted by their chair Delegate Lamont Bagby.

On Saturday, our new VEA Executive Director, Dr. Brenda Pike, spoke on working within the union to build power. “Power is only the ability to act,” Dr. Pike said. “Why shouldn’t we have it, based on the values that bring us together? We’re the ones on the front lines.”

Your local FEA membership is your link to VEA, so make sure you’re opening our emails and following us on Facebook.

Together, we can make a huge difference!

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