As AFT leaders gathered at the February executive council meeting, it was clear: A year since we started the AFT’s endorsement process, with the largest, deepest engagement with AFT members and candidates ever, we needed to step into the next phase of the process—the advocacy piece. More than 300,000 members engaged personally in our 2020 election work during the first phase. We heard from nurses, teachers, school support staff, bus drivers, adjunct professors, graduate employees, public employees and more from all over the country, and learned about their aspirations and who they connect with and trust.
A statewide push led by educators and allies last fall succeeded in turning Virginia blue. And now that our AFT affiliates in Fairfax County, Hampton and Norfolk have joined with union allies in a statewide effort, new pro-union legislation has passed the Virginia House of Delegates and gone to the state Senate for consideration. H.B. 582 would allow state and local public sector employees—such as teachers, nurses and firefighters—to engage in collective bargaining.
New York State United Teachers leaders are crisscrossing the state on a seven-week bus tour, https://fundourfutureny.org/ witnessing the impact of funding shortages in public schools from Long Island to the North Country. Since Jan. 15, they’ve been drawing attention to a plethora of woes, including teacher and support staff layoffs, counselor shortages, ballooning class sizes, and abandoned music and art programs. To help, NYSUT is calling for a $2.1 billion increase in state aid to schools this year, and supporting a new tax on the many ultrawealthy people in New York to support it.