AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

AFT COMMUNITIES

WHEREAS, the AFT is a strong and vibrant union with a diverse membership working in PreK-12 education, healthcare, higher education and state and local government; and

WHEREAS, this diverse membership, with its many varied skills, talents, experiences and connections to our communities, is the union’s greatest asset and the source of its strength and power; and

WHEREAS, the five divisions of AFT membership—AFT Teachers, AFT PSRP, AFT Higher Education, AFT Healthcare and AFT Public Employees—allow the national union to address issues unique to each constituency while at the same time uniting all AFT members in “A Union of Professionals”; and

WHEREAS, in addition to issues that are unique to each constituency, there are many issues, challenges and threats that cross divisional lines and are common to all AFT members and the institutions in which they work; and

WHEREAS, these issues, challenges and threats, which include privatization; schemes that strip adequate funding from essential public services; high-quality and affordable healthcare; shifts by employers to a part-time and contingent workforce; and access to quality training and professional development, require the national union to organize and mobilize the strength of its entire membership through its state and local affiliates to develop comprehensive and strategic campaigns to fight to protect the interests of our members and the institutions in which they work; and

WHEREAS, many of the issues and threats facing AFT members also face members of community groups, other unions, civil rights organizations, faith-based organizations and other long-standing and potential new allies in the communities in which our affiliates are based; and

WHEREAS, the AFT and its state and local affiliates at all levels of the union have an outstanding track record of identifying allies with shared interests and building effective coalitions with these organizations, the AFT must refocus on maximizing the cooperation and coordination of affiliates from all divisions and be as successful in forging community of interest coalitions within the AFT as we have been with allies outside the union; and

WHEREAS, the tradition of autonomy within the AFT allows for union structures within state and local affiliates that, while no less democratic or responsive to the needs of the members than the divisional structure in the national union, do not always promote cooperation and coordination of effort by affiliates from different divisions often located within the same state or in close geographic proximity to each other; and

WHEREAS, the Activists for Congressional Education (ACE) network is a good example of a program designed by the national union to maximize the mobilization of AFT members across constituency lines to increase the union’s involvement and influence on federal legislative issues:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers increase its efforts to bring together and support cross-constituency "AFT Communities" that consist of AFT affiliates in close geographic proximity or in states and territories with shared legislatures and/or other political structures to work together to mobilize their memberships and build alliances with community allies to further the interests of our members and defeat attacks on the institutions in which they work; and

RESOLVED, that the national union increase its efforts to identify issues common to all AFT members and utilize AFT publications and communications networks to educate members on these issues in order to build support and improve efforts to mobilize activists; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT build communities of affiliates by creating more opportunities for affiliate leaders from all divisions to come together and discuss common issues and develop strategies and receive training on how to work together; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT encourage state affiliates to do more to promote cooperation among affiliates from different divisions within their state by engaging in joint activities that could include joint legislative conferences, political action, candidate screenings and cross-constituency leadership conferences; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its state affiliates or locals where there is no state affiliate put special emphasis on making sure that small local affiliates receive the support necessary to participate effectively in the activities of "AFT Communities."


(2006)