AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions


WHEREAS, anti-labor policies promoted in the guise of education reform are now being replicated nationally in a viral experiment to destroy teachers unions and, ultimately, all public sector unions; and

WHEREAS, a new round of assaults recently has targeted AFT local unions as the school year ends and contracts expire, even as corporate interests rush to publicize a rapid dismantling of teachers unions and the demise of collective bargaining; and

WHEREAS, in Chicago, the mayor has unilaterally rescinded a negotiated, budgeted raise; proposed to revoke all pay related to experience and education; and threatened to close 80 to 100 schools, causing the Chicago Teachers Union to take a strike vote with 98 percent approval; and

WHEREAS, a recently released fact-finder's report affirmed the principle of fair compensation for extended hours, but failed to protect layoff and recall rights for tenured teachers or to address class sizes. The report was rejected by both the CTU's House of Delegates and the board of education. If negotiations do not progress, the CTU can legally strike on Aug. 18; and

WHEREAS, in Detroit, members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, in a three-year contract that expired June 30, have already absorbed $200 million in concessions; and

WHEREAS, in an improved fiscal environment, the DFT asked the emergency manager to engage in good-faith collective bargaining but instead received an edict with a 10 percent cut in wages, no binding arbitration, continued cuts in healthcare, and an automatic layoff and re-interview process for all teachers and staff, and which wipes out contractualized education reforms, including shared decision-making and PAR; and

WHEREAS, in Lawrence, Mass., the state has put the school system into receivership through a new law that assigns broad powers to the receiver and expedites a unilateral turnaround plan; and

WHEREAS, last week, new proposals were presented under the receivership that undercut many provisions of the collectively bargained contract; and

WHEREAS, in Jefferson Parish, La., a school board dominated by business interests has created chaos by abrogating the contract despite successful legal challenges from the Jefferson Federation of Teachers; has closed schools, affecting 300 teachers; voted to allow the teachers' contract to expire on June 30 and imposed its own personnel policy; and is now asking teachers to sign individual contracts while sending a team with no authority to the negotiating table; and

WHEREAS, in Douglas County, Colo., the school board allowed the teachers' contract to expire on June 30 while its bargaining team is demanding an end to dues deduction and pay for local leaders as district employees, along with other measures that specifically attack the Douglas County Federation of Teachers, but is offering no proposals for other contract language; and

WHEREAS, it is incumbent on teachers unions to organize members and communities to fight these attacks so as to defend our members, students, schools and the continued promise of public education; and

WHEREAS, the assault on public employee unions represents a false and tragic assumption that elected officials can destroy a union without also destroying the workforce that serves constituents; and

WHEREAS, the AFT, through the crisis fund created at our 2010 national convention and the AFT's ongoing and expanding Locals and States in Crisis program, has offered material support in the form of financial and strategic contributions, personnel and resources on the ground, ongoing labor table collaboration, and an expanding investment in community organizing to these and other locals under attack; and

WHEREAS, the AFT will continue to provide support to defend against attacks on our members in every constituency as they arise—be it an attack on public employees, or nurses and health professionals, or higher education faculty and staff, or preK-12 educators and staff:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will stand in solidarity with these AFT locals and any others engaged in the critical struggle to advocate for students and their families, for citizens and their communities, for patients and healthcare, and for our own existence as organized labor; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT's solidarity efforts will include supporting affiliates in the event of a strike or other actions our members choose, in processes authorized by their local union; educating our national membership and the community about these expanding strategic assaults; engaging members in actions of protest; and promoting this commitment as a battle for the dignity of public service and for the common good.