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DEBBIE NASH has been a school secretary for four years at Brighton West Elementary School in Brighton, a rural town in southwest Illinois. She was a teacher aide in the district for 10 years prior. Nash took part in organizing the Southwestern ESP Association and is now its president.
My argument for separate locals representing teachers and education support personnel begins with their different interests.
The concerns of non-certified staff are often classification specific, requiring close, individual attention from union leaders.
In my local, we have 12 different classifications, each with their own issues. The bus situation, for example, is very complicated. We have a lot of bus driver language in our contract, and I spend much of my time as ESP president addressing these concerns.
Other issues--such as prohibition of subcontracting, prohibition of split workdays, health and safety language, and negotiated job descriptions--may not affect teachers, but they're very important to us. …