Local Option is a program adopted in February, 2000, by the OEA Executive Committee to allow local UniServ Councils the Option of hiring their own labor relations consultant instead of an OEA state staff person.

Annually an amount of the local association's OEA dues is specified to be rebated back to the UniServ Council and through to the local association. This rebate is then used to fund the labor relations consultant of their choice.

This Local Option program has been utilized by many of NEA's other state affiliates since the inception of UniServ back in the early 1970s. Some states, such as Maine and Florida, are entirely funded through the Local Option mechaism.

Other states, like Ohio now, have offered a choice between state staff and local option staff. Here is how Maryland lists State staff and Local Option Staff:

Wisconsin also offers a choice to its UniServ Councils. Here is their description of UniServ:

The UniServ Council
A UniServ (short for Unified Services) is the regional association. The Ripon Education Association, for example, is affiliated with the Winnebagoland UniServ, which is based in Fond du Lac. The UniServ assists locals in bargaining, political action, public relations and many other areas.

A UniServ unit is a group of local associations, in the same geographic region, whose combined membership generally totals about 1,200 to 1,500. Each UniServ unit - in financial partnership with WEAC and the NEA - hires its own staff to assist locals in collective bargaining, member rights, public relations, professional development, political action, and other areas. Each of the 32 UniServs has its own governance, with members electing officers. Major policy and spending decisions are made at an annual Representative Assembly. UniServs elect one representative for every 1,500 members to serve on the WEAC Board of Directors. Five large locals serve as their own UniServ units - Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Kenosha, and Green Bay.

The only difference in Wisconsin between the state staff and the Local Option Staff job descriptions occurs in item #1 of each posting:

  1. Shall promote and adhere to the policies adopted by the Winnebagoland UniServ Council and WEAC. (STATE STAFF)
  1. Shall promote and adhere to the policies adopted by the LUC Leadership Council. (LOCAL OPTION)


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