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Member Spotlight: Shannon Edwards

Shannon Edwards is a high school English teacher in Kansas who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself and what she believes in.  

When she began her teaching career, she was very involved with her local union, a National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) affiliate. She served on the local union executive board for five years, went to state and national union conventions, and helped recruit new members to join.  

But, when Shannon’s actions in her workplace were called into question, she ‘was shocked when the people I thought were my friends in the union turned against me’.  

One day, Shannon made a comment that hurt someone else’s feelings and instead of addressing the action head on, rumors about her started to spread like wildfire. Shannon wanted an opportunity to follow the procedures outlined in their constitution and bylaws to defend herself, but union leadership was more interested in ruining Shannon’s reputation without giving her due process.  

Shannon recounts, “I never dreamed I would have to defend myself from the people who were supposed to defend me.”  She is grateful that her fight with the union never affected her job, because everyone who had worked with her knew that the rumors were untrue.  

Because of how the union contributed to the rumors and actively fought against her, Shannon decided to resign her union membership. She has been able to advocate for herself and receives liability insurance protection through her local district, as required by Kansas state law. She feels that “nobody can do a better job advocating for you than you can.” 

Shannon has found great value in being a member of AFFT, including the retail “discounts [she] receives through AFFT are the same [she] was getting as a union member, except AFFT doesn’t charge monthly dues!” She enjoys reading the monthly newsletter and talking with AFFT’s knowledgeable staff.  

Americans for Fair Treatment

Americans for Fair Treatment is a free, membership, non-profit organization designed to help public sector workers exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of coercion from unions.