Chandler educators win demands: “Organizing for power works!”

By Jim Byrne |
January 5, 2021
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Tucson, AZ - As the state of Arizona reached the highest rate in the world of daily confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, hundreds of Arizona educators prepared a sick-out to demand two weeks of virtual learning. In the Chandler School District, the educator’s union’s consistent organizing efforts achieved big wins.

To start, in late December they demanded the school board hold an emergency meeting January 4 to discuss updated COVID numbers and plan for virtual learning options. That was the first win as the board met that night and heard concerns from community and educators. The power of the union and the threat of a massive sick-out forced the board to accept the demands of two weeks of virtual learning and also to lower metrics that make it easier to close school sites if there are COVID-19 cases.

Chandler Education Association President Katie Nash said of the win, “Organizing for power works! It takes a lot of hard work, strategy and tactics.” When asked what led to the big victory, she said, “It’s about relationships. It’s about beginning with a goal in mind and slowly working away at that goal. You start out with small things and escalate as necessary. As you gain momentum, your demands may need to change. It’s also about telling your story. Your story has power. Our stories have power. No one can take that power away from you. And when we put all of those stories together, we are truly most powerful.”

As COVID-19 cases continue to ravage Arizona, Fight Back! will continue to publish updates about worker resistance.