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!
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is once again failing students by allowing for-profit colleges to run amok, this time attacking the gainful employment rule—a measure designed to ensure that the education colleges offer their students actually prepares them for “gainful employment,” that is, a well-paying job. As part of the effort to push back, the AFT is surveying members who are applying to schools that may be guilty of hiding statistics around career success among their graduates.
The AFT has been on the ground in Florida, where elections for governor, U.S. senate and other offices have been so nail-bitingly close recounts have been required. With complications including broken voting machines, power outages and lawsuits, vote count monitoring has been an essential tool to ensuring that every vote counts, and that the integrity of the democratic process is preserved. This historic election is also a teachable moment, and educators across the country are using resources from the AFT’s Share My Lesson learning platform to make sure the next generation of voters is informed and ready for future challenges.
A series of crashes near school bus stops has killed at least five children this month. AFT members can help fight this tragedy. It’s easy to launch our Stop for the Bus campaign, using tools to plan and enlist help from local businesses, churches, and nonprofits. For info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate employees at Georgetown University made history Nov. 9 when they finished tallying an 83 percent vote to join the union, the Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees. The overwhelming victory is the first that circumvents the Trump-appointed National Labor Relations Board. Instead it is certified by the American Arbitration Association, and it decisively frames graduates not as students but as workers, with all the rights that title commands.
AFT nurses are on the ground in Massachusetts to get Question 1, a ballot initiative backed by the Massachusetts Nurses Association passed. The initiative would require hospitals to limit the number of patients to nurses in a hospital. The nurses have their work cut out for them. The Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association have spent millions to oppose the initiative. But the nurses are reaching people on the phones, at the polls for early voting, and in their homes and taking time to explain their position: safe patient limits will ensure quality care and save lives.
AFT members from New York are traveling to Georgia to help with election protection helping ensure that voters are able to exercise their rights, and will be less likely to be turned away from the polls. Voter suppression has become a leading issue in the race for governor there: Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, who would be the first African American woman elected to that office, is a long-time voting rights advocate, while her opponent, Brian Kemp, Is using his position as Georgia secretary of state to create voting policies that would ultimately favor his own election.
The nurses and health professionals working at St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee have ratified a new three-year contract. The healthcare workers represented by the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals gave no concessions but their collective action resulted in a contract that improved wages, staffing and other benefits.
Rhode Island College may be the neglected “middle child” of public higher education in the state, with faculty who are paid 30 percent less than their peers at the state’s larger university and students who have no access to the free college program offered at the state’s community college. But RIC faculty union members are working to change all that, advocating at the state level for better access to free tuition for all Rhode Island students, improvements to the school of education, and pay raises that will at least bring them up to the national average for professors at similar institutions. They’ll be visiting legislators, rallying and fighting as their campaign, Respect RIC, continues throughout the fall.
Graduate employees at Brown University and Georgetown University are on their way to a union election, taking an historic approach to gaining recognition and a pathway to collective bargaining. Rejecting the Trump-dominated National Labor Relations Board, they are instead planning union recognition elections supervised by the American Arbitration Association this fall. At Brown, a strong majority of the 1,250 graduate employees have already indicated support for their union, Stand Up for Graduate Student Employees, and at Georgetown, a similarly robust majority of the school’s 1,000 graduate workers have backed the Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees. Both unions are affiliated with the AFT.