AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions


WHEREAS, coffee and chocolate are two of the most widely traded commodities in the world, and the United States consumes one-fifth of all the world's coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world, and coffee is the second-largest import into the U.S. after oil; and

WHEREAS, many small coffee and cocoa farmers receive prices for their crops that are less than the costs of production because a variety of commercial buyers, processors and exporters take advantage of them, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt; and

WHEREAS, children have to quit school and are denied basic human rights, including a sound education, because they are forced to work on coffee farms to keep labor costs low; and

WHEREAS, there are severe environmental consequences to the current commercial methods of growing and harvesting these crops; e.g., poisoning the land due to overuse and misuse of herbicides and pesticides; and

WHEREAS, small growers and cooperatives in Latin America, Africa and Asia find it almost impossible to compete with large corporations and agribusiness in locating buyers for the high-quality products they produce; and

WHEREAS, fair trade is a viable economic solution to this situation, correcting market imbalances by guaranteeing a minimum price for small farmers' harvests, encouraging organic and sustainable cultivation practices and assuring consumers that the coffee they drink was grown, harvested and purchased under fair and humane conditions:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers build support for fair trade through an education and awareness campaign; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT encourage the purchasing of fair trade products by its members and the institutions in which they work; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT encourage all of its locals to show solidarity and support for these workers by pledging to purchase fair trade products, especially coffee, tea and chocolate whenever possible.