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State's Largest Labor Union Holds Annual Assembly In Missoula

By will wadley
Published On: Mar 31 2012 06:45:01 AM MDT
Updated On: Mar 31 2012 06:47:05 AM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

MEA-MFT, Montana's largest labor union, talked elections, wages, and worker's rights at its annual Representative Assembly in Missoula Saturday.

Teacher Janelle Hosevear says she made the trip from Great Falls to Missoula for one real reason.

"It truly is about our kids,? said Hosevear. ?That's why every person, regardless of whether they're teachers or what public service we're in, we're preparing our kids, this is the next generation."

Hosevear is one of the three-hundred union delegates who gathered over the weekend in a hotel conference room for the meeting.

Union leaders say 2012 is a critical year for Montana public workers to choose their leaders and election endorsements wisely.

"We want to change things, we want our voices to be heard, that, what's happening is not okay."

The MEA-MFT represents more than 18,000 teachers and other public workers, and for the last four years, most of them have been on a pay freeze.

Montana public school superintendent Denise Juneau, who recently won the union's endorsement, says she says she's disturbed by the hostile climate surrounding public service at the state's last legislative session.

"What we saw in the last legislative session, and what we've seen across the country in about twenty other states is really an attack on public employees, public school teachers, on things that are ideological differences going on in this country," said Juneau.

Union leader Eric Feaver says one of the goals at this year?s meeting is to change that climate.

"The goal in front of us now is to elect a legislature that's more labor friendly, a legislature that cares about government and does not want to drown it in a bathtub."

For a link to MEA-MFT?s website, click here.