RECLAIMING THE PROMISE OF PUBLIC SERVICES FOR STRONG COMMUNITIES
The strength of our communities and our way of life depend on public services that work for all Americans. These services are essential to improving our neighborhoods, protecting our communities and providing an environment for economic vitality. Efficient public services are also an important engine in driving community job creation and establishing communities where companies want to set up businesses.
We must provide the resources and support necessary to protect high-quality services, promote fairness and advance opportunity for all. The public employee professionals who provide these services are committed to serving their fellow citizens and reclaiming the promise of strong communities that support the common good.
Public services are under attack by those who demand and pursue austerity, polarization, privatization and deprofessionalization. The austerity-driven agenda of some politicians, attacks on collective bargaining and the economic crisis continue to make it harder for Americans and our communities to receive and enjoy the high-quality public services they deserve.
We are at a critical moment when we must reclaim the promise of high-quality public services for strong communities—not as they are today or were in the past, but as they can be—to fulfill our collective obligation to advance the common good. Together, we can accomplish this by insisting on support for high-quality public services that benefit families, strengthen communities, ensure safety and bolster the economy.
Reclaiming the promise is about fighting for first-rate public services that support communities and keep them safe, healthy and vibrant. Reclaiming the promise is about ensuring our tax dollars are properly invested back in our communities and the resources are used responsibly. Reclaiming the promise is about ensuring public employees are well-prepared and supported so they can provide the high-quality services our communities depend on.
By uniting our voices around this vision, and by collaborating to develop solutions that are best suited for our families, communities and economy, we will ensure that everyone has access to essential services that advance the common good. By working with organizations and individuals in our communities, we can help expand the public's general knowledge about government services, the infrastructure and funding necessary to maintain them, and public employees' role in providing them:
RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will:
- Proactively press forward this vision to reclaim the promise of high-quality public services for strong communities by assisting state federations and local affiliates to mobilize members and unite with the community to fight against the attacks and push forward our solutions; and
- Engage our members and the community to fight for federal, state and local legislation, policies, funding and collective bargaining agreements to ensure our communities have the high-quality public services they deserve.
This is a living document that must be continuously informed by the collective wisdom of our members, our affiliates and our community partners.