Solidarity took center stage Tuesday when National Education Association Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss addressed the AFSCME 43rd International Convention.
“On behalf of the National Education Association, I bring greetings, love and solidarity from our 3 million members,” Moss began. “No matter what your occupation, we know that all of you and your work form the fabric of our nation. For that, we will be forever grateful.”
In a post-Janus case era, AFSCME and NEA face common challenges. The two unions were among four public service unions – the American Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union being the other two – that worked together to oppose the Janus v AFSCME case and build power despite a national right-to-work scenario.
“Your theme is more than mere words. It’s an anthem of this generation,” said Moss, referring to AFSCME’s Rise Up convention theme. “Rise Up embodies the urgent call to action for the labor movement. In the face of Janus … we must rise up against the special interests, the big banks, and the lobbyists seeking to destroy us. We must rise up against the forces that seek to silence our voices and assault our rights.”
As secretary-treasurer, Moss oversees the NEA’s budget and ensures the union’s fiscal integrity. Before being elected to her current position in 2014, Moss served on NEA’s Executive Committee, spent 21 years in the classroom and was a two-term president of NEA’s Virginia affiliate. She was appointed and re-appointed by Virginia Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to serve on the Commonwealth’s P-16 Education Council.
Moss concluded with a call to action to, “Rally our troops, knock on doors, and knock down some walls.”
“We were born for this moment,” she said. “They don’t get the last word. We do!”