MAPE welcomes new Business Agent
Beth Swanberg, MAPE’s newest Business Agent, was a music teacher, opera singer and education union strike captain before joining MAPE as a business agent last month.
“It was great to be able to see membership governance in action right away at Delegate Assembly on my first weekend. I was able to meet a lot of member leaders and get a great overview of the organization,” Swanberg said.
Swanberg was a classroom music teacher for much of her career. She began teaching in Robbinsdale, traveled to Mexico City before making her way back to Minnesota where she became involved in the St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE). Swanberg served on SPFE’s Executive Board, Committee on Political Education, bargaining team and as an area strike captain.
“Having come directly from the rank and file of SPFE, I think I have a unique perspective of the work that member leaders do to maintain and build the union. I believe I’ll be able to use that perspective to empower members and strengthen connections among members, she said. “SPFE taught me a lot about how to keep inclusion at the forefront of union organizing and I think that is key to the future success of unions in general.”
She said the connection between MAPE and SPFE is strong with a number of staff having worked for both unions, “I think Minnesota is such a wonderful state and MAPE and other strong unions deserve a lot of credit for that,” she added.
Swanberg said she is looking forward to getting to know how each of her locals work and learning what their priorities are and how they navigate issues within their agencies, “As an educator, I worked hard at building relationships through trust and advocacy and I’m excited to continue that work with MAPE members.”
Swanberg took a break between classroom music jobs to earn a master’s degree in vocal performance and sang opera and performed musical theater professionally. She lived in Mexico City for seven years, where she met and married her husband and their son was born. A dozen years later the family, including two stepchildren, moved to St. Paul. Right now, it’s only Swanberg, her husband Alfredo and son Charlie living at home with their Cavachon dog, Marge.
“When we aren’t at a soccer game, ultimate frisbee game or archery tournament watching our son compete, we like to watch the Mexican national soccer team — even though they’re terrible right now — bike and eat tacos on the deck,” Swanberg said.