Laura Fuchs

Secretary

What position are you running for in the WTU? Secretary


If you are running on a slate, provide the name: Independent

What school(s) do you work at? HD Woodson


What is your current role at your school? Social Studies Teacher


How many years have you worked for DCPS? 15


Describe your leadership experience, including what you have done in the WTU: 2019-22 WTU Secretary, 2016-19 WTU Executive Board Member at Large HS, 2014-Present Chair WTU COPE, 21-22 HD Woodson Building Rep, 2013-2020 HD Woodson Alt-Rep/Building Rep, 2010-Present: HD Woodson SCAC, LSAT and Personnel Committee, Serve on Organizing, Legislative and IMPACT committees currently. Created and administer the WTU Facebook Group. Founding Member and current chair of DC-CORE


Why are you running? (Max. 1000 characters) I believe that the Washington Teachers Union has the ability to be a powerhouse in DC. We just need to organize our membership and give them the opportunity to take the lead. When members lead, we win. I believe that as Secretary I can continue to provide the transparency, accountability and leadership to bring members' voices to the table and empower them.


What is your vision for the union? (Max. 1000 characters) An active and fighting union is one that wins. Teachers Unions have the power to fight for more than just our contract in a negotiating room. If we organize our members for power, we can fight for our working conditions, privatization, mayoral control, IMPACT and so much more. This starts in our schools and making sure that we are building and organizing a community of members who have a clear stake and voice in ALL the decisions that are made in our union from strategy to demands.


If elected, what are your top 3 priorities that you would focus on to achieve your vision for the WTU? (Max. 1000 characters) 1) Enhance Union Democracy - make sure that members are given the information they need to be able to make decisions that impact our union. This can be done through increased transparency and commitment to giving members and their elected Reps and Delegates the power to decide how to move forward. 2) Organize our membership to take collective action. We have to train our members as organizers and do the important work of having 1-1 conversations, building our lists and communication networks and using them to listen to our members and connect their needs to the union's fight. 3) Take action. We have to be willing to take radical and concrete action as a membership. We cannot be afraid to use our voice and power to demand fair and equitable outcomes.


What are your top 3 contract priorities for future negotiations? 1) Special education - our special education teachers and Related Service Providers need to have more manageable workloads. They should be brought to the table en-masse to construct their demands and then be regularly updated throughout the negotiation process in an open manner to make sure that their demands are met. 2) Fully funded schools - I believe that if we have open contract negotiations we can make demands in the contract that ensure our schools and teachers are fully resourced. 3) Fair Evaluations - our current system is completely unfair and we need to negotiate it, whether the law says we can or not.


What is the strategy the WTU should take to achieve that vision? 1) We need to have open negotiations that allow our members AND the public to be aware of what is happening in the negotiations room. This does not mean everyone can speak, but nothing is hidden. 2) The WTU needs to construct working groups for all major parts of the contract that are open to all members, present clear notes and all drafts and working documents for feedback, and include educators, community members, parent and students to help us design a contract that benefits us all. 3) During negotiations the WTU must regularly meet with the working groups to give and receive feedback on the progress of negotiations and make sure that our members are clear what their line in the sand is and what we are willing to do to fight for it. 4) Building Reps should have Contract Action Teams who are regularly reporting on the progress of the contract and getting feedback from their members, this will help if DCPS decides to refuse to negotiate in good faith so our members know why we will need to be prepared for collective action 5) Organize, prepare for and take collective action as needed. WTU should have a clear strategy from communications to organizing on how we are messaging our contract fight and building alliances and readiness to fight for it.


If elected, what is your role in achieving that vision? As secretary I can be present and assisting in taking notes, gathering documents and sharing them with all of our members. I can also propose these ideas to the Executive Board and fight for them to be passed. Then I can show up alongside our members in helping organize and carry out collective actions to fight for our contract.


If elected, how do you see yourself working with caucuses like DC-CORE? I believe members need to be organized outside of the union in order to hold elected leaders accountable. I hope that more caucuses arise, like DC-CORE where members are taking union power in to their own hands and demanding accountability from leadership. I will always seek to listen, learn and understand the perspective of different groups and will look forward to hearing their ideas and feedback.


Do you believe that the WTU should organize and prepare to be "strike ready"? Yes

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Laura Fuchs