History of DTU

Working TOGETHER for 43 years…

It all began with the idea of unity

  • In Duval County in 1968, at the time of the mass resignation which is referred to as the “statewide teacher walkout”, teachers belonged to one organization: the Duval Teachers Association (DTA). The walkout left scars on our entire community and state.
  • Some teachers became dissatisfied with their National Education Association (NEA) affiliate, the DTA. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) sent organizers to Florida to acquaint teachers with AFT’s perspective.
  • In 1969 many teachers broke ranks with the NEA and formed the Jacksonville Federation of Teachers (JFT). The state affiliate was the Florida Federation of Teachers.
  • Until 1974 our School Board enjoyed the battle between the DTA and the JFT. The luxury of playing one group against the other resulted in the Board’s providing only minimal salary and benefits to teachers.
  • In 1974 the DTA/NEA and the JFT/AFT decided teachers would benefit from a united front. Committees were formed to hammer out a proposed constitution and by­laws for one teacher organization in Duval County.
  • Teachers voted for unity in 1974, giving birth to the new group: Duval Teachers United. One compromise, worked out by the two organizing committees, allowed for dual choice of a national affiliate­­ either the NEA or the AFT.
  • The NEA disallowed this unity move, sued its former affiliate, and canceled the option of membership.
  • Not daunted by this arbitrary rejection, the majority of teachers, locally and statewide, elected new officers and pressed forward with a new local, the DTU, and a new state organization, Florida Education Association/United. Needless to say, both locally and at the state level, the groups worked tirelessly to increase membership, make collective bargaining a reality, and develop the necessary political clout and expertise to turn the educational tide in Florida.
  • DTU currently maintains affiliation with FEA, NEA, AFT, and the AFL-CIO.
  • The NEA came back to Florida and formed the Florida Teaching Profession (FTP). Territorial wars ensued. Each union wanted to represent teachers and school­related personnel in each of the 67 school districts. It was not uncommon for one union to challenge the other every time a contract was up for re­negotiation.
  • In 1975, the District’s paraprofessionals voted to join the ranks of Duval’s teachers and join the DTU; this created the united classroom team.
  • In 1985, the District’s seven hundred­fifty office employees, pleased with DTU’s record of success at the bargaining table, voted to join the DTU. The psychologists organized and lobbied the school board. They moved from administrators to the teacher bargaining unit and became members of DTU in this same year
  • Today, DTU is composed of three chapters: the Teacher Chapter, the Paraprofessional Chapter, and the United Office Personnel of Duval (UOPD) Chapter. These three groups, two­thirds of the employees of the Duval County School Board, compose the DTU.
  • Collective bargaining began in Duval County one year before the State’s Collective Bargaining law went into effect. Through the bargaining process DTU has achieved: increased salaries, full employer­paid health benefits,duty­free lunch, paid sick and personal leave, bi­weekly pay periods, optional pay plans, pay for accumulated sick leave, shared decision­making, sick leave pool, employee assistance plans, non­discrimination clauses, fair lay­off procedures, improved surplussing and transfer procedures, guaranteed planning time, union representation during conferences, planning days and paid holidays, improved summer employment selection process, student discipline protection, fair evaluation and termination procedures, maternity and adoption leave, sabbatical leave, and much more. Virtually all of the things we take for granted today have been won through the collective bargaining process­­many times in long, tough battles with the School Board.
  • Territorial warfare hit Duval County in both 1980 and 1990. The teachers of Duval County rejected the Duval Education Association/NEA and the Duval/NEA’s attempt to disrupt our unity. On both occasions, the NEA’s “on­paper” organizations failed to achieve the necessary support to have a disruptive and costly election. Duval’s teachers firmly stood for teacher unity.
  • In the mid 1980’s, DTU launched the American Federation of Teachers’ Educational Research and Dissemination Program. This 30­hour inservice program brought the latest classroom­proven research into the classrooms of Duval County. Seeing the need for improved and varied inservice opportunities, DTU offered members our 10­hour Teaching Critical Thinking Skills inservice series and our annual QuEST Conference, which brings nationally­renowned speakers and presenters to Duval County. DTU has also sponsored workshops on shared decision­making; integrating art, music, and physical education into the elementary curriculum; eclectic discipline; newspapers in education; and many more.
  • The political clout of DTU members was fully realized with the “de­throning” of a Superintendent. DTU members wanted major changes for the students of Duval County, but the Superintendent was the largest obstacle. School­based employees wanted the schools to be the focus of the school system, not the District office. DTU­endorsed candidates won a majority on the School Board and in 5 short months the process of selecting a new Superintendent was underway.
  • With the cooperation of a new Superintendent, in the late 1980’s, DTU had sufficient clout to start the dismantling of the top­down power structure. DTU and the School Board established a Professionalization of Teaching Task Force to forge ahead with the concept of school­based management and shared decision­making. While the District was in search of a new Superintendent, DTU was focused on our dream of having decisions which impact students made at the school level.
  • DTU’s participation in the selection of a new Superintendent was important. DTU leaders met with all the final applicants. Our leaders were looking for a Superintendent who shared our commitment to have teachers, paraprofessionals, clerical employees and principals work together for the good of the children and the school.
  • Territorial warfare between the state’s two rival education employee unions was put on hold with an historic “no raid” agreement. The agreement, in large part due to severe state budget cuts in 1991, led to a re­birth of the teacher unity concept. This time it was not only the teachers who wanted to join forces against uncaring state lawmakers; the teachers and school­related personnel joined forces to lobby the legislature for better funding of the state’s 67 school districts.
  • Seeing the need to further expand the power base, the State’s two unions joined forces with the entire education community­­ the School Boards Association, School Superintendents Association, School Administrators Association and the Parent Teachers Association (PTA)­­ forming the Education Coalition. The state’s media outlets noticed the unity. This unity was demonstrated for the entire legislature on a cool spring day in 1992 when three thousand friends of education (600 from Duval) met in the state capitol to demand more funding. Their voices were heard and the proposed budget cut was reduced by 50%.
  • Unity – the goal of both state organizations. The governing structure at the national level is moving slower than we did at the state level. The AFT fully supports the concept. A few radical state delegations within the NEA are forcing the merger to move more slowly. In Florida, both organizations were determined to achieve unity. After much talk and debate the national organizations are still not merged, but in May of 2000 FEA/United and FTP merged forming the Florida Education Association, an organization with history back to 1886.

Past Presidents

  • 1999 – Present Terrie Brady
  • 1998 – 99 Lynne Lucas
  • 1995 – 98 Andy Ford (served as FEA Vice President and was elected President of FEA in 2003)
  • 1993 – 95 Nancy Miller
  • 1991- 93 Laurie Murray
  • 1978 – 91 Luann Bennett, President
  • 1977 – 78 Hybird Hendry, President
  • 1976 – 77 Jim Geiger, President
  • 1975 – 76 Vince Exley, President
  • 1974 – 75  Vince Exley, Provisional President
  • 1974  Catherine Luther, Provisional President