Teachers nationally are working to build unions that not only represent members’ interests, but are also relentlessly focused on developing the capacity of educators to maximize student learning within a 21st century context. Specifically, active members of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) are realizing this vision by expanding rank and file members’ ability to weigh in on high-stakes decisions such as leadership elections and policy-making through an online voting initiative. However, union leadership is opposed to this change, so teachers are taking action.
Currently, teacher leaders in the Teacher Action Network are collaborating with teachers in the Teach Plus network in Los Angeles to gather signatures for a petition to implement online voting in UTLA. The initiative, if passed, would move voting by the members of UTLA from paper ballots to online.
Beyond the benefits of having a positive impact environmentally and the financial savings it will bring, online voting will be crucial in helping to eliminate hurdles to teacher participation and low turnout that plagues the union during membership votes. Several teachers unions in the country have implemented online voting.