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.
Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race couldn’t offer a starker choice between the current anti-education governor, Scott Walker and challenger Tony Evers, who is a career educator and current state superintendent. The AFT is all in for the race: AFT Wisconsin has endorsed Evers, and members recently joined AFT President Randi Weingarten to talk with him about reversing the devastating budget cuts and threats to academic freedom that Walker has wrought upon the state.
As President Trump sets up tent cities for immigrant children along the southern border—places where children will be warehoused for undetermined weeks at a time, with no access to their legal right to education—the AFT and more than 70 other advocacy organizations are fighting back with a new initiative that underscores the fact that it is illegal to prevent children from attending school, regardless of their immigration status. The initiative also provides practical tools educators can use to protect the undocumented children in their own classrooms.
A class-action suit filed in federal court sets out serious allegations that student loan servicer Navient has misled borrowers in public service professions from accessing a loan forgiveness program to boost its own profits. The landmark complaint,…