Solidarity means also working with supportive lawmakers to provide pay raises and affordable healthcare

People in the labor movement throw around the word solidarity. Songs have even been written about it. What does it mean in real life? Texas AFT asks elected officials to stand up for educators and sometimes that means coming to socially distanced school board meetings in June. At the invitation of our local union–Cy-Fair AFT–state Rep. Jon Rosenthal spoke on behalf of Cy-Fair teachers at the School Board meeting:, “I believe all Cy-Fair education professionals deserve a raise and affordable health insurance. An across-the-board pay raise proves Cy-Fair cares about the employees who have worked so hard during this crisis.”  

Thanks to Rep. Rosenthal’s show of solidarity, the Board passed salary increases and bonus stipends, along with no health-care cost increases. Full-time teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses in 2020-21 will see a one-time $1,000 payment from 2019-20 rolled into their salaries on a permanent basis in addition to a 1% pay increase. Paraprofessionals and hourly employees will see a 1% pay raise and a $500 payment for 2020-2021. In addition, the starting teacher salary in Cy-Fair ISD will be $56,000 in 2020-21—up from $55,500 last year. In the ruinous economic wake of the coronavirus pandemic, for us, solidarity means showing up when it counts.

“State Representative Jon Rosenthal stepped up and lobbied the school board on our behalf to amplify our voice,” said Nikki Cowart, president of Cy-Fair AFT. “We must have both Republicans and Democrats doing this very thing all over Texas. Elections matter, public school workers matter, and the students we serve certainly matter.” 

Texas AFT applauds the advocacy of leaders like Cowart and Rep. Rosenthal and the hard-fought victory they won for educators.