A member mobilization campaign has produced significant steps in activism for the Montana Federation of Public Employees. The campaign in Helena last month trained 36 members and staff—half from MFPE with help from the NEA, and half by AFT volunteers from around the country. The focus of the training was to re-familiarize members with MFPE after its historic merger last year, and to strengthen state employee membership. The Montana federation has about 1,500 state employee members in and around the capital.
Given their notoriously low pay, graduate employees at universities across the United States frequently struggle to make ends meet, but at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that struggle is compounded by mandatory fees. The Teaching Assistants Association—the oldest grad union in the country—is rising up and fighting back: They just can’t afford to pay 10 to 18 percent of their less-than-living wage back to the school that employs them.
AFT President Randi Weingarten today delivered a major address on the crisis hollowing out the teaching profession—massive disinvestment in public education and deprofessionalization. In her speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., she called for reinvestment and freedom to teach.
AFT President Randi Weingarten and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders shared the stage yesterday in Lordstown, Ohio, together condemning the corporate greed—and the Trump administration behind it—that drove the General Motors plant closure here. The townhall-style gathering, and the backstage conversations between Sanders, AFT members and Lordstown students, was the first in a series of “AFT Votes” events designed to connect presidential candidates to AFT members around the country, to learn more about their lives, hopes and struggles.
Members of AFT New Mexico are celebrating three important new state laws, signed this month by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, that will strengthen community schools; fund career ladders to remedy the state’s teacher shortage and enhance teacher diversity; and bolster job security for school support staff. Two other new laws will enhance services for kids: One raises wages for classified personnel, and the other provides nearly $33 million to buy and equip district-owned school buses.
Thanks to the activism of our members, AFT paraprofessionals and school-related personnel will be recognized in a new federal awards program, the first of its kind to honor public school preK-12 support staff. Every year, the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees program will honor one classified employee to acknowledge the excellence shown by PSRPs nationwide.
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!