The AFT has severed ties to Wells Fargo after the mortgage giant refused to break its close relationships with gun manufacturers and the NRA. The move means the mortgage giant could lose business from thousands of AFT members who, in the past, have used a member benefits tool to finance their home purchases through Wells Fargo. “The lives of students and educators must be valued more than guns,” says AFT President Randi Weingarten. “We have a responsibility to our members and their students, who face potential gun violence every day. [Wells Fargo] can be the bank for America’s teachers, or it can be the bank for the NRA and gun manufacturers. But, given the NRA’s refusal to even help mitigate gun violence, Wells Fargo can’t be both.”
Most people think of a week in the Virgin Islands as a vacation, but the more than two dozen AFT nurses and health professionals who traveled there in early April were on a mission. Their goal: to perform vision and hearing screenings for all the public school students on the islands. The effort was part of AFT's comprehensive recovery assistance that it has been providing since hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the islands last September.
Workers looking to join a union have used rules established by the National Labor Relations Board during the Obama years that streamlined the union election process, making it more transparent and timely. Now President Trump's appointees to the NLRB appear to be ready to rescind these rules. More than 10,000 AFT activists have weighed in, urging the NLRB to leave the rules in place.
The AFT has issued a report urging Wall Street leaders to fight for gun violence prevention by avoiding investmentsin companies that make assault weapons. “Educators have a right to assume their deferred wages [retirement funds] are not being invested in the companies that make the military-style assault weapons used to injure and kill them and their students in countless school shootings,” says AFT President Randi Weingarten.
Current and future leaders of the AFT, together with President Randi Weingarten and Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, headlined the inaugural PSRP Leadership Conference April 13-15 in St. Louis. The activists built skills in generating power at the local level. They began with visioning exercises and then learned how to engage members from the campus to the ballot box.
It was an emotional journey to Memphis for the thousands who gathered there April 2-4 to commemorate the historic sanitation workers’ strike of 1968 and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. But it wasn’t all memories and reverence: AFT leaders and dozens of members joined thousands of other labor activists and community organizers to not only honor civil rights heroes but carry their fight forward, with activist trainings, workshops, rallies and inspirational speeches.
For two years, graduate employees at Georgetown University have been organizing, persistently working toward official recognition as the Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees. On April 2, the university finally agreed to allow them to vote on whether they want a union and promised that, if they win the vote, they’ll have dispute resolution, collective bargaining and other measures that will give them more of a voice on campus.
Launched after Hurricane Maria made landfall six months ago, Operation Agua continues to serve as a lifeline for communities still without access to safe drinking water, and it is now more than 75 percent to its goal of bringing 100,000 water filters to Puerto Rico.