This years AFT End of the Year Luncheon was about change. Our past president John Krimmel passed the torch to our new president Nancy Lasher. We have high expectations of our incoming president and she has the full support of the Union to achieve all the goals set before her. Nancy has been a part of The College of New Jersey for 25+ years serving in multiple roles across campus, most recently being a professor in the Marketing and Interdisciplinary Business Department. Please join us in welcoming the new President of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2364, Nancy Lasher!
The AFT is deeply involved in immigrant advocacy this summer: AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus, along with educators and nurses from several states, traveled to McAllen, Texas, Aug. 14 to check on the condition of the children in the immigrant detention centers. Although they were turned away by border patrol agents, the AFT contingent was able to distribute donations to a relief center. And AFT volunteers are helping reunite families and distribute food and supplies to people detained after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Mississippi. “At the end of the day, compassion and dignity and decency should be the watchwords of the United States of America. That is who we are, and that is what we demand of our government,” said Weingarten.
Members of the Miami Dade College faculty are suing the school’s board of trustees, accusing the trustees of hijacking the process for selecting a new college president. The lawsuit is just one part of an angry campus reaction among those who feel the board wants to place a political appointee—one who could have little or no academic experience—at the helm of the largest public college in the nation. United Faculty of Miami Dade College won’t stand for it, says UFMDC President Elizabeth Ramsay. “We'll fight back against the politicization of the search process and fight like hell to protect our students' access to high-quality public higher ed.”
As working class people struggle to pay their bills and educators in particular wind up working second and third jobs to stay afloat, it’s especially galling that the super wealthy enjoy huge tax cuts and corporations rake in more money than ever before. That’s why the AFT is backing the “Tax the Rich” bus tour. Launched during the first presidential primary debates in Miami June 26, the tour involves a bus traveling across the country with the words “Tax the Rich” emblazoned on its side and the message, "When we tax the rich, we all do better.” The tour winds up in Detroit on July 30, during the second primary debate.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) announced legislation July 23 to forgive student loan debt for tens of thousands of borrowers and, at the same time, help close the racial wealth gap. The new measure would eliminate up to $50,000 in student loan debt for individuals who earn less than $100,000 a year, providing relief to 95 percent of student loan borrowers and canceling student debt entirely for 75 percent of borrowers.
Faculty, staff and students at the University of Alaska are bracing for thousands of layoffs, and possible campus closures and program eliminations, as the governor forces an unnecessary 41 percent cut in funding that will change the landscape of higher education in the state. The faculty union is fighting to save what it can, but the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, UA’s accreditor, has warned it could lose accreditation if the cuts move forward, and the board of regents has declared financial exigency, which allows for broader cuts. AFT faculty weigh in on the mood on campus.
Long before the registered nurses at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus began negotiating for a new contract, members laid the groundwork for their plan to achieve a landmark agreement. On July 11, the nearly 4,000-member Ohio State University Nurses Organization/Ohio Nurses Association ratified a three-year agreement that includes wage increases between 15 and 18 percent for most members, safe minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, and a phaseout of mandatory overtime. “Our nurses pushed the medical center to join us in raising the bar for our patients, and through months of collective action among our members, we were able to secure a monumental contract that benefits everyone,” says OSUNO President Rick Lucas.
Students at Title I schools across the nation have cool and delicious treats in store for them over the next few months—and no, these treats are not coming from an ice cream truck or the local bodega. Rather, the AFT and upward of a dozen AFT affiliates from Connecticut to Utah have won hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of grants for free new children’s books from First Book, which announced the awards July 15.
See why we’re union proud!
Freedom to Teach—the AFT’s campaign to respect educators’ professional training and experience and allow them to teach as they see fit—comes to life among the applications AFT members submitted to the Freedom to Teach awards this week.
Emotions matter, especially in schools. But all too often, schools are places that have too many rules and not enough feelings, said Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Brackett spoke about emotional intelligence during the July 13 morning plenary at TEACH.
What’s the single most important thing affecting student outcomes? Emotions. And not necessarily students’ own emotions but ours—those of the adults around them. So says Marc Brackett, a professor at Yale University and director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.