(Lake Charles – November 22, 2015) Retired Jefferson Federation of Teachers President Meladie Munch and Red River United member Cleve Arkansas today received Pioneer Awards from the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. The award is presented annually to individuals who, over the years, made major contributions to the growth and influence of the LFT.
In presenting the awards, LFT President Steve Monaghan said, “As we celebrate the 51st anniversary of the first LFT convention, it is appropriate that we honor those whose hard work and dedication made it possible for our union to become the largest and most effective advocate for teachers and school employees in the state.”
Munch has served as LFT Secretary-Treasurer as well as president of her local chapter. Under her leadership, union activists were able to elect a pro-public education school board after a term in which anti-union forces negated a decades-old contractual agreement with the board and attempted to decimate the union by making it difficult for members to maintain their membership from year to year. Her efforts were rewarded this year, when the new board ratified a contract with teachers.
Arkansas was a charter member of the Caddo Federation of Teachers, which he helped grow into a multi-district umbrella organization known as Red River United. He was a longtime member of the Red River Executive Board, and also served as a vice president of the LFT.