New resources to help grieving students

As some educators begin to return to school buildings, and others continue to teach virtually, many are confronted with a stew of emotions among their students. The AFT is here to help with our Grief-Sensitive Educator project, a collection of webinars, handouts and other resources that provide practical information about how to navigate students’ grief, whether it is pandemic-related or based in the everyday losses all communities experience.

All of us deserve the ‘Freedom to Thrive’

As part of the Biden administration’s giant push to get the nation past the pandemic and back on its feet, AFT President Randi Weingarten joined environmental and economic justice leaders on March 29 in support of new legislation that dovetails with the AFT’s Freedom for All to Thrive campaign.

Town hall addresses COVID’s unique impact on women

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the AFT town hall on March 23 featured a conversation about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women, as well as the best ways to make vaccine distribution more equitable amid emerging disparities. The pandemic has disproportionally impacted women in many ways, including higher job losses; greater exposure to COVID-19 because women are often on the frontlines of healthcare and other essential services; and a heavier toll on their mental health.

Faculty fund grows to help college students in need

The pandemic has hit everyone hard, but low-income college students often struggle in the dark, ashamed to admit they are pennies away from being evicted and dropping out of school. AFT faculty have stepped in to help with a growing number of FAST Funds, emergency relief programs that help students with small grants that cover anything from rent checks to books, transportation and food.

Poultry plant deaths underscore the need for unions

The AFT joined several other union and immigrant advocates March 23 to stand in solidarity with workers at a poultry plant in Georgia, where six workers died after a workplace accident. Many of the surviving workers are undocumented immigrants and afraid of repercussions should they come forward with information about working conditions in a place where safety measures could have prevented this tragedy. “An injury to one is an injury to all,” said AFT Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram. “We demand justice in the Gainesville community.”

Senate passes $1.9 trillion in relief: What it means for AFT members

Working people and their advocates are breathing a collective sigh of relief after the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan, which provides much-needed funding to accelerate COVID-19 testing and vaccination and to help families struggling with job loss, food insecurity, the threat of homelessness and other challenges related to the pandemic. The landmark bill is expected to cut child poverty in half, extend a lifeline to unemployed people and help fund the safe reopening of schools.

‘We’re in the homestretch’: Nurses hopeful as COVID slows, vaccinations speed up

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 29 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported, and more than 500,000 Americans have succumbed to the disease since last March. Simultaneously, several new, more contagious variants of COVID-19 are gaining ground here in the U.S. The good news is that the nationwide vaccination program that began on Dec. 14 is yielding results. The country is also experiencing a downward trend in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. “Last year at this time, people were freaking out. There was a lot of stress,” says emergency room nurse Sherri Dayton. Now, she says, things are much better.

Ohio taps Toledo para for new RISE Award

When Congress passed a law in 2019 to honor outstanding preK-12 paraprofessionals and school-related personnel at the national level, it was only a matter of time before a PSRP from our union would rise to the top. For the first Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award, to be announced by the U.S. Department of Education this spring, Ohio has nominated a high school paraprofessional from Toledo, Cerssandra McPherson.

Essential staff on college campuses fight for vaccines

Faculty and staff are on campus, working face to face with students, yet often they have no access to COVID-19 vaccines. In Illinois, their union is fighting to change that so they can get vaccinated sooner and keep themselves, their families and their students safe. This sort of advocacy worked in New York state, where the faculty-staff union played a key role in winning vaccination priority—and protection—for its members.