Utah Education Association

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Utah Education Association (UEA)
Full name Utah Education Association
Founded 1910
Members 18,000+ (2009)
Affiliation National Education Association (NEA)
Key people Heidi Matthews,[1] president
Office location Murray, Utah
Country Utah
Website [1]

The Utah Education Association (UEA) is the largest public education employees' union in the U.S. state of Utah, representing more than 18,000 teachers. It has local affiliates in 41 school districts, Applied Technology Colleges, and the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind in Ogden. It is the state affiliate of the National Education Association.[2]


UEA was organized in 1860 as “The Deseret School Teachers’ Association,” “for the purpose of establishing a society for promoting the educational interests of the community.”[3] In 1910 it was incorporated as the "Utah Educational Association," and by 1924 had adopted the current name and restricted its membership to professional educators.[4]

In May 1964, at the climax of a battle with Utah governor George Dewey Clyde, the UEA led a two-day walkout - the first statewide teacher's strike in the nation.[5][6] From 1990 to 1996, the president of the UEA was Lily Eskelsen. She is now the president of the NEA.[7] In 2007, UEA, working within a coalition called Utahns for Public Schools, led a successful bid to repeal what would have been the nation's first statewide universal private-school voucher.[8][9][10]


The UEA's annual convention is its largest and most high-profile event, featuring national speakers and workshops on best teaching practices. It also attracts political candidates, and includes an awards banquet highlighting excellence in teaching. Most of Utah's school districts take their fall break just before the annual deer hunt starts,[11][12] and UEA usually schedules its convention to coincide with this break, so that teachers can attend without taking days off or hiring substitutes.[13] Eventually the schools came to refer to the fall break as "UEA Weekend," until a state law passed in 2007 barred them from doing so, to avoid favoring or endorsing one employee association over another.[14]

After many years at the Salt Palace convention center in downtown Salt Lake, the convention moved to the South Town Exposition Center in 2008.[15]


  1. ^ "Park City educator elected UEA president," Deseret News, April 25, 2016
  2. ^ Utah Education Association website
  3. ^ Utah Education Association website
  4. ^ MICHAEL T. MCCOY McCoy, Michael T. and James B. Eldridge, “The Evolution of the Utah Education Association into Collective Bargaining in Utah,” NEA Bargaining and SERSA Conference, Miami, FL, 2003.
  5. ^ "Teachers: Showdown in Utah," Time Magazine,Friday, May. 24, 1963
  6. ^ MICHAEL T. MCCOY McCoy and Eldridge, p. 4. The claim of 'first statewide teachers' strike' is also made by the Florida statewide teachers' strike of 1968
  7. ^ "Lily Eskelsen: Teacher Rises to Executive Post at Nat'l Education Association," Hispanic Business, April 7, 2009
  8. ^ Washington Post, "Utah Rejects Broad Voucher Program" November 7, 2007
  9. ^ UEA website voucher story
  10. ^ A discussion of the debate over House Bill 148 can be found in the article on Patrick M. Byrne
  11. ^ Austin, Dennis D. (2010). Mule deer : a handbook for Utah hunters and landowners. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press. p. 21. ISBN 9780874217414. Indeed, the fourth or fifth most important Utah “holiday” during the school year was the opening weekend of the general deer hunt. 
  12. ^ "Deer Hunting In Utah". Utah Travel Secrets. Retrieved 2015-12-03. Deer hunting in Utah evolved into a statewide event through the years. Schools closed on the Friday before the hunt started and this continued even into recent years. 
  13. ^ Rigert, Michael (2009-09-30). "UEA convention, fall break held on separate weekends this year". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2015-12-05. 
  14. ^ text of SB56S32007
  15. ^ "UEA switch throws wrench in works," Deseret News, September 28, 2009


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