Please enjoy a few shots from our EOTY Luncheon. We were grateful to have a powerful presentation from the volunteers at the Eastern Service Workers Association. If you would like more information on their group, what they do, and how YOU can help contact them at 609-695-9562. Through our commitment to donate to them yearly, we know that we are supporting the rights of those who are vulnerable, one of the hallmarks of a strong union!
Members of Rutgers AAUP-AFT and its two sister unions packed the faculty senate meeting at Rutgers University in New Jersey Sept. 21, holding signs, shouting from the back of the room and asking hard questions of university President Robert Barchi as he delivered the State of the University address. Union contracts expired months ago, and contract negotiations have been rocky at best. AFT President Randi Weingarten joined the rally before the meeting, adding to the impact of the protest.
Massachusetts residents are back in their homes after a series of gas explosions and fires shook three communities—Lawrence, Andover and North Andover—in the Merrimack Valley on Sept. 13. Over the weekend following the explosions, many AFT Massachusetts members who live or work near the disaster volunteered at Lawrence schools that served as shelters to help distribute donated items to area residents. “It’s been tough. There is a lot of hurt going on in the community but we are resilient. We are going to recover,” says Lawrence Teachers Union President Frank McLaughlin.
More than 120 AFT members took in a rich professional development series presented by the AFT at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference Sept. 12-16 in Washington, D.C. Along with practical sessions on classroom practice the conference, which included presentations by all three AFT executive officers, focused on fighting the destructive education policy of the Trump administration, ensuring that equity continues to be a robust part of public education and communicating the urgency of getting out the vote this November.
Our members in Detroit have joined the response to the Detroit school water crisis. Precipitated by lead and copper water test results, the Detroit school system has shut off drinking water to all schools for the foreseeable future. AFT Detroit members are organizing to make sure that their students and colleagues have access to safe drinking water for the duration of the crisis.
Pressure is mounting for the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington to come to an agreement on a new contract with its nurses. The nurse members of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals have been negotiating for months for safe staffing and competitive wages at the hospital. Their current contract expired July 9. Recently, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on the hospital's board of trustees "to take a more active role in the contract negotiations between management and the nurses' union."
The AFT was out in full force at last week’s Labor Council for Latin American Advancement convention in Puerto Rico Aug. 8-11. As Latin American workers continue to lag behind their white colleagues, and as appalling immigration policies plague the country, AFT leaders joined more than 400 delegates from a cross section of the labor movement, working to forge a better future and addressing equitable education, protections for immigrant workers, the economic impact of anti-union attacks on the island and across the country and the power of the Latino vote.
Oregon nurses collect donated school supplies
With back to school right around the corner, members from the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals recently held a school supply drive with the goal of sending 100 Portland-area children back to their classes with everything they need to succeed.
Nurses at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, represented by the Registered Nurses Association, part of the Ohio Nurses Association, began negotiating with the hospital for a new contract last spring got actively involved in their contract negotiations and worksite actions. Their activism delivered a three-year collective bargaining agreement that addressed their major concerns.
Public employee activists, leaders and staff took part in an AFT-sponsored mobilization and organizing training last month in Baltimore. Dozens of AFT stalwarts, including some from Connecticut and New York, went to Maryland for a week in mid-June to help the City Union of Baltimore and AFT Healthcare Maryland build employees’ power by increasing membership. Participants were trained on the AFT organizing model, including how to have one-on-one conversations.
Maybe you’ve heard the founding slogan of the AFT: “Democracy in Education; Education for Democracy.” AFT delegates brought their passion and intellect to the convention floor on Sunday as they exercised their democratic values, voting to approve the three top resolutions from our union’s Politic