AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions


WHEREAS, the responsibility for protecting U.S. citizens rests primarily with government and public sector employees; and

WHEREAS, the United States has put significant resources, monetary and infrastructure building into Homeland Security; and

WHEREAS, the safety of employees required to respond in an emergency should be a primary concern and an objective of the funding; and

WHEREAS, the National Response Plan (NRP) of the Homeland Security Department was finalized in 2004 and called for mobilizing the resources of all federal agencies including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is charged with protecting first responders. Yet, as evidenced by the 2005 hurricane response plan, OSHA was not being deployed effectively to assure the safety and health of first responders. Adequate training and personal protective equipment (respirators) were not in evidence; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. government has not adequately supported the training and equipment needs of local fire personnel, police and other support personnel after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers support allocating resources and funding for the maintenance of systems, facilities, equipment and infrastructure that will improve the ability of public employees to respond effectively to any emergency; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT advocate for Department of Homeland Security funding to improve the emergency response and preparedness infrastructure throughout the nation, including adequately integrating state, territorial and local government and public sector employees into federal response efforts. Such a program would provide improved communication among federal, state and local governments, as well as all necessary training for government and public sector employees to become genuine partners in any response to a crisis; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT advocate for a stronger role for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the National Response Plan so that more effective programs will be developed to distribute protective equipment and training for first responders.