A new union for Montana

By MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver & MPEA Exec. Director Quinton Nyman

January 20, 2018, MEA-MFT and MPEA member leaders will gather here in Helena and ratify a proposed constitution creating a new union, the Montana Federation of Public Employees.
 

A new union of state, county, and municipal employees. A new union of higher education faculty and classified personnel. A new union of public school classified, specialists, and teachers.
 

A new union dedicated to the state of Montana and all its local communities.
 

A new union with a long, distinguished history, that first took root in frontier Montana in 1882, seven years before statehood, and continued to thrive and realize significant union building events as in 1917, 1936, 1945, 1973-74, 1981, and 2000. So many to choose from.
 

A new union that has grown over time to faithfully represent and professionally advocate for the best possible public programs and services adequately and equitably provided through state and local government effort.
 

January 20, directed by our highest governing bodies to just do it, and guided by our new constitution, MPEA and MEA-MFT member leaders will jointly dedicate themselves to:
 

(1) seize the opportunity to rethink, restructure, and repurpose what we do, with and for whom, and why;
 

(2) defend, promote, enhance, and grow the Montana labor movement;
 

(3) establish beyond any doubt who speaks for organized public employees across Montana;
 

(4) share resources and funding of those resources across a wider, larger array of members;
 

(5) establish and maintain quality, diverse professional development and leadership training across all membership categories;
 

(6) unite the legislative goals and lobbying efforts of all public employees;
 

(7) build a progressive, worker-oriented footprint in every Montana community; and
 

(8) send a message to and serve as a model of membership organizing and union density growth for our national affiliates NEA and AFT.
 

This is seminal stuff. Our own special creation as we face an uncertain, raw-edged anti-government, anti-public employee, anti-union future.
 

So, if not already a delegate, get on board. Come to Helena, Saturday, January 20, Great Northern Hotel. Become part of the most consequential event in recent Montana labor history.
 

April 6-7, 2018: After delegates for both MEA-MFT and MPEA vote to adopt the proposed constitution January 20, the new union will hold its first joint annual meeting April 6-7, 2018, in Helena. The primary business for this meeting will be for delegates to adopt dues and budget and elect a board of directors and state officers.
 

Spring regional meetings: MEA-MFT and MPEA will hold more regional meetings around the state in February and March, 2018, so members have a chance to learn about the new union and the issues up for discussion and vote at the April 6-7 annual meeting. 
 

All members are encouraged to attend one of these meetings. Regional meeting dates and locations are listed below, along with the full merger calendar.
 

MERGER CALENDAR 
 

JANUARY 20, 2018: Special MEA-MFT Representative Assembly & MPEA Annual Meeting • Helena
Delegates at their respective special meetings will consider and vote on the proposed constitution.

FEBRUARY & MARCH, 2018: Regional Meetings • all MEA-MFT & MPEA members invited
Kalispell Tuesday Feb. 27 6:00 p.m. Kalispell Labor Temple
Missoula Wednesday Feb. 28 5:30 p.m. UM – UC Theatre
Bozeman Monday March 5 6:00 p.m. Bozeman Library
Helena  Wednesday March 7 5:30 p.m. Helena College
Great Falls Saturday March 10 10:30 a.m. Great Falls Education Assoc.
Havre Tuesday March 13 6:00 p.m. MSU-Northern SUB
Wolf Point Wednesday March 14 6:00 p.m. Sherman Inn
Billings Thursday March 15 6:30 p.m. Billings Education Assoc.
Miles City Saturday March 17 5:30 p.m. Rib & Chop House (tentative)
Butte Tuesday March 20 6:00 p.m. Carpenters Union Hall
 

APRIL 6-7, 2018: First Joint Annual Meeting • Helena
Delegates will adopt dues and budget and elect a board of directors and state officers for our new merged union.