Because it’s a Zoo Out There

I was one of dozens of WEAC Region 6 members who attended a membership organizing workshop in the Town of Newville (near Edgerton) this summer called Building Strong Locals. The workshop focused on how to make our union more influential and successful, and how to talk about the union to potential members.

One of the highlights of the workshop was a presentation generously offered by the membership organizers at the Fond du Lac Education Association. One thing that sticks with me about the discussion we had with the FEA organizers is the idea that union membership should be fun. Because public schools and public school employees are under constant attack from state and federal government, talk radio, Fox News, and countless others, we are often in the middle of serious, unpleasant conflicts that might make us forget how much fun this can all be. No one understands what it’s like to work in schools better than other people who work in schools, and the union provides a place for us to come together and talk about what is on our minds in open, honest, and sometimes hilarious ways.

It is in this spirit that the first annual WEAC Region 6 back-to-school party this Saturday, October 14, at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, was conceived. All Region 6 members and their guests are invited to stop in under Region 6’s big tent from 10 a.m. to noon, for face painting, children’s activities, treats, and tokens to ride the carousel and zoo train. Region 6 members in attendance can also participate in a free drawing for door prizes.

The event is an opportunity for union members throughout the region to interact and get to know each other in a relaxed, fun, family-friendly environment. Camaraderie and communication are crucial building blocks in the strength of a democratic, member-run organization like ours. The Region 6 calendar is full of meetings that focus on education issues, employment rights, and building union power that all members are welcome to attend. The back-to-school celebration at the zoo is not such a meeting. It is for the sake of gathering and enjoyment.

I hope you can make it. Even if you can’t, make sure to tell the union members you know about the event, and encourage them to talk about it, too. You can also print the Back to School Zoo Celebration flyer and hand it out.

Please do not hesitate to email me at, or call the Region 6 office at 1-800-397-2287, with questions and suggestions. And remember not to let anyone take away your fun.

In Solidarity,
Kirah Zeilinger
President of WEAC Region 6