The St. Tammany Federation of Teachers and School Employees was one of five chapters of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers to receive the “Union Values in Action Award” on Sunday, November 23 at the 44th annual LFT convention in Covington. The award is presented “for improving the lives of members, enhancing the influence of the union and advancing the mission of public education.” St. TFT/SE President Elsie Burkhalter, left, accepted the award from LFT President Steve Monaghan.
(Covington – November 23, 2008) Five local chapters of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers today received the Union Values in Action Award for improving the lives of members, enhancing the influence of the union and advancing the mission of public education.
The award recognizes the efforts of local LFT chapters to promote the union agenda and express commitment to the values that make the Federation the largest professional organization for teachers and school employees in Louisiana.
“These Federation chapters exemplify what the LFT stands for,” said LFT President Steve Monaghan. “The Union Values in Action Award serves as an inspiration and a road map for other chapters around the state. It shows how much can be accomplished when we are true to the principles that led us into the union movement in the first place.”
The awards were presented at the 44th annual LFT convention at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Covington.
St. Tammany Federation of Teachers and School Employees: Despite LFT’s success in winning a salary supplement for paraprofessionals and school related personnel this year, the union was unable to get fair treatment for school bus in the legislature. Although owner/operators were hit hard by the skyrocketing cost of fuel and maintenance, and the state’s fuel allotment had not been increased since the mid-1980s, lawmakers refused to increase the supplement.
Because the St. Tammany Federation is the bargaining agent for the parish’s transportation workers, President Elsie Burkhalter was able to negotiate a one-time $1,000 payment for increased operational expenses, and in increase in the fuel allotment of one cent for every nickel rise in the price of fuel. Her actions demonstrate the power of collective bargaining and the ability of local chapters to influence policy.