The Iberia (La.) Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel, with more than 500 members, has become an official AFT affiliate five years after the chapter started with just 12 members.
"Our overall goals are that we're able to have a voice for our profession and to work with the district in order to make decisions that affect not only the teachers, but the students and the other staff members," local president Trasima Richard told the Daily Iberian.
One reason for chartering the local, Richard notes, is to have a local voice in addition to being part of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. "We knew we had a state voice, so we were trying to organize to make sure we had input in the local things that are happening."
In addition to teachers, the Iberia affiliate includes clerical, food service and transportation workers. "With this local chapter, we're hoping to advocate the best education opportunities for the students in Iberia Parish," Richard told the newspaper. "Not only that, we also want to advocate for the rights of the teachers and other service workers in the parish."
"The parents and the teachers need to work together to make sure we're doing what's best for the child," she says. "When teachers and school employees can share their expertise and voice their concerns, they are better able to serve the children. It's a win-win for all." [Daily Iberian, Dan Gursky]