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Take Legislative Action

With your help, we can build a powerful, effective online activist network to help move the union's agenda forward and to increase our political clout. Participate in the following action campaigns and contact your representatives on the issues that affect working families every day.

Stay connected to the union's political and legislative program by joining the  AFT e-Activist Network  and begin receiving alerts when new action campaigns are added to the Legislative Action Center.


Current AFT Legislative Action Campaigns 

Philadelphia Children Deserve Better

Once again, a child in Philadelphia has been stolen from us much too soon—this time a 7-year-old from Jackson Elementary School. Once again, there was no school nurse on site.

Since Governor Corbett took office in 2011, school funding has been slashed by $1 billion, and he turned down Medicaid funding that could have helped many of Philadelphia’s children. Enough is enough. Send a letter demanding he restore full funding now.

Wall Street Profits or Student Opportunity?

Wall Street is raking in about $44 billion in profits every year from higher education. Students are struggling with rising tuition and skyrocketing student loan debt. Colleges, communities and taxpayers are on the hook for interest payments on loans taken on by colleges. And for-profit institutions divert funds from education programs to shareholder profits.

Reclaim the Promise of Brown v. Board

Pledge to stand with us as we fight to reclaim the promise of Brown v. Board, the promise of a high-quality public education for all children.

Can you lift 1.8 tons?

Did you know that nurses lift an average of 1.8 tons during an average eight-hour shift? All that lifting takes a toll on the bodies of people who deliver patient care. In fact, health professionals have more work-related injuries than construction, manufacturing or transportation workers. 

Please ask your members of Congress to support U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ H.R. 2480, the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2013. H.R. 2480 is designed to decrease the potential for injury to all who provide and receive care, while reducing work-related healthcare costs and improving the safety of patient care. This bill would direct the Secretary of Labor to issue an occupational safety and health standard to reduce injuries to patients, nurses and all other healthcare workers by establishing a safe patient handling, mobility and injury prevention standard.

Every Child Deserves a School Nurse

In October 2013, a sixth-grader in Philadelphia died of an asthma attack. There was no nurse on duty at her school that day because of budget cuts. We need your help to ensure that all children have a school nurse when they need one. 

Please ask your members of Congress to support U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s H.R. 1857, the Student-to-School Nurse Ratio Improvement Act.

In an era when 25 percent of children and adolescents have chronic health conditions that could affect their ability to learn—conditions that require ongoing management and emergency interventions for students to remain in school and keep learning—school nurses are essential to students’ health, safety and ability to remain in the classroom. School nurses are often the only primary care providers children see on a regular basis.

Ask your representative to support H.R. 1857, because every child deserves a school nurse.

Teachers are more than an algorithm

Value-added modeling (VAM) uses students’ performance on prior standardized tests to predict academic growth in the current year. In many places VAM doesn’t account for factors that have a big impact on students, like poverty and school funding; it only counts standardized tests.
 
Leading researchers have questioned the use of VAM in high-stakes teacher evaluation, indicating that it can be an inaccurate and unstable measure of teacher performance when used on its own. This is coming from groups like the American Statistical Association, the Rand Corp. and the Economic Policy Institute. So why are districts, legislators and even the U.S. Department of Education still pushing it as a silver bullet for education?

It's time to Raise the Wage

 More than 27 million workers have been waiting four-plus years for Congress to raise the minimum wage. This country is supposed to be the land of opportunity. No one who works full time and plays by the rules should still struggle to pay for basic necessities. But in recent decades, corporate CEOs have been taking a greater share of the economic pie while workers’ wages have stagnated. 

Sen. Tom Harkin has introduced the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, S. 1737, in the Senate, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over the course of 2½ years. 

Tell the Senate to vote yes on S. 1737 and raise the minimum wage.

Let’s End the Testing Madness

Reps. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) and Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have introduced the Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act, H.R. 4172. It reduces federally mandated tests and gives states the freedom to focus on learning and high-level thinking skills instead of test preparation.

Urge Congress to pass H.R. 4172 and reduce the testing fixation that has diminished the joys of teaching and learning. This bill is a good start toward improving the way we educate our students today and preparing them for a better future tomorrow. 

Pledge to green your school!

Pledge to green your school and we’ll send you tricks and tips on how to do everything from planting a school garden to creating a school-wide recycling program.
 
Los Angeles teacher Kerry Olinger points out five benefits for students who engage in environmental sustainability initiatives:

How dare she trash talk teachers

Gov. Susana Martinez was caught red handed bashing New Mexico's teachers. In one audio clip posted yesterday, Martinez told campaign staffers that she would hide her opinions on teachers during the campaign. In another, the governor laughs as her chief campaign strategist discussed ways to avoid accusations that she hid her true anti-teacher feelings during the campaign. 

Send the Governor a message — bashing New Mexico’s teachers in not ok. 

We demand a vote now

Today, a discharge petition will be introduced in the House of Representatives to demand a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. When 218 members sign the petition, Speaker Boehner will have to call a vote. We can break through the partisan gridlock and pass comprehensive immigration reform if you take action today.  

It’s time for the House of Representatives to do its job. Contact your representative today and demand a vote.

Comprehensive immigration reform is too important to be held hostage by a small group of far-right obstructionists. Join us in demanding that the House of Representatives do its job and vote.

A safer school is a victory for all

Bullying at schools is a problem that denies our kids a safe and healthy learning environment. To combat this challenge that harms far too many children, we are part of a coalition of more than 110 leading national organizations that support the Safe Schools Improvement Act. This federal legislation would ensure that schools nationwide implement comprehensive, effective anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies to protect all students.

Stand with us to stop bullying at school and ensure our children have safe, happy learning environments.

Hands Off My Retirement Security

The ALEC agenda is simple: Put corporate profits and right-wing political power before the needs of working people by promoting income inequality and attacking our rights through a secretive “pay-to-play” political system.
 
Whether it is undermining public employee pensions, or promoting “right-to-work” or voter disenfranchisement legislation, ALEC has been at the forefront of the fight against the middle class in states across our country.
 
Now is the time to fight back and stand up to ALEC’s agenda of profits over people. Tell your state legislators to oppose the ALEC agenda today.

Will you be my super hero?

It’s time to reclaim the promise of early childhood education and care to guarantee every child and family has access to affordable, high-quality early childhood programs—from birth to kindergarten.

But who can help us? It’s the Super Legislator League!

Your members of Congress need to hear from you! Send your early childhood education rescue signal into the sky and ask your legislators to be superheroes. It’s time to reclaim the promise of early childhood education and enact the Strong Start for America’s Children Act!

I Stand with Mayor DeBlasio

Mayor de Blasio is enacting common sense policies to protect all of our children. From now on, his administration will apply four criteria in reviewing proposed co-locations: He won’t allow reduced services for children with special needs; he won’t put elementary students in high schools; he won’t approve small schools that only require more high-paid supervisors to run them; and, he won’t approve co-locations in buildings that would require expensive renovations of school facilities.

Those are sensible reforms we can all get behind. Thank Mayor de Blasio for enacting policies that serve all of New York City’s children.

Stand with SUNY

SUNY Downstate Medical Center and its teaching hospital, University Hospital of Brooklyn, are cornerstones for Brooklyn patients and medical students. This makes New York a leader in training physicians through the school of medicine. Not investing in vital healthcare services at Downstate would reduce the quality and accessibility of healthcare for hundreds of thousands of patients—many of whom are underinsured or uninsured.

Public School Funding Is On Thin Ice

Allowing the majority of our education funding to flow to private schools would have a devastating effect on children living in poverty, who are the primary beneficiaries of these federal dollars. Studies prove vouchers do not help students and families: They do not improve student achievement, they deprive students of the rights public school students have, they threaten religious liberty by funding religious education, and they lack accountability to taxpayers.

We need your help to ensure public schools don’t get left out in the cold. Contact your members of Congress today and tell them you want them to oppose these bills.

Stop Bullying Newark Teachers and Parents

There’s something wrong happening in Newark. Superintendent Cami Anderson—one of Gov. Chris Christie’s hand-picked appointees—is trying to force a plan that’s opposed by the community and bad for Newark’s schools. And she has to violate the contract she negotiated and signed to do it.

Anderson has already cut shady deals with charter operators and suspended administrators just for disagreeing with her. If she gets the waiver she’s seeking, she’ll have the authority to fire teachers and bring in untrained, low-cost replacements—and to close neighborhood schools. We don’t know what she’ll do, but it’s clear she’s up to something.

Anderson needs to hear loud and clear that we expect her to work with parents and teachers, not break the contract and bully the community.

Support HR 3833 for APRNs

Rep. McDermott (D-Wash.) has introduced a bill that would make it easier for nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and clinical nurse specialists to order durable medical equipment (DME), such as home blood sugar monitors and oxygen.

Currently, some DME vendors require a physician to certify that a face-to-face patient encounter has taken place before filling DME orders, even though the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has delayed implementation of the law requiring physician documentation. Rep. McDermott’s bill would clear up the confusion and empower APRNs to get their patients the equipment they need.

Please ask your members of Congress to support U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott’s H.R. 3833.

Stand in Solidarity with UIC United Faculty!

Our brothers and sisters at the University of Illinois at Chicago have voted to strike as part of their efforts to ensure their students get what all students deserve: reasonable class sizes, individualized instruction, support for cutting-edge research, and classrooms and labs that are safe and well-equipped. These are the rights of every student.

Give Newark a Voice!

Superintendent Cami Anderson sought no community input on her One Newark plan – which would close and privatize neighborhood public schools. But right now, there’s a bill in the state Senate which would require Anderson and district officials throughout New Jersey to seek local approval before closing schools. Our community deserves a voice.

Contact your state Senator and tell them to support S-966.

Parents, teachers, students, support staff and community members are joining together to take back our schools and reclaim the promise of public education in Newark.

Stand Up to ALEC!

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s education agenda puts profits before performance, and corporations before children.

The ALEC agenda of privatization at any cost is wrong for students. ALEC invites corporations to shape public policy on education with devastating results for students and their communities. ALEC bills are replicated across the country to divert public resources into private hands, degrade curriculum and accountability, and weaken the voice of educators.  These ALEC bills pave the way for profiteers.

Stand up and ask your state legislators to put our children’s future first. Send them a personalized message to stand up to ALEC.

Share Your Story: Classroom Supplies

With school budgets across the country being slashed, we know that many teachers have spent their own money to help maintain a creative and engaging learning environment in the classroom.

Take Action!

DCPS is telling us there are two different errors in the way the District has calculated IMPACT scores: some teachers who got high scores weren't that good, and some teachers who received low scores weren't that bad. In other words, we now know that IMPACT's flaws are even worse than we feared.

These miscalculations have created a significant problem for everyone in the community—teachers, students and parents—because IMPACT scores determine which teachers are retained, rewarded and even fired. Nearly 600 DCPS teachers have been fired in recent years, most because of IMPACT scores. And, this latest arithmetic mistake appears to have affected 1 out of 10 teachers whose evaluations include student test results.

We cannot let this pattern continue. Write Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Mayor Vincent Gray and urge them to change the high-handed way DCPS operates and to involve teachers and parents in the decision-making process.

Make 2014 the Year of the American Worker

As 2013 comes to a close, we look back and remember a year of trial and tribulation: a dysfunctional government that plays political games; an economy that is slowly strengthening but where many are still without full-time work; corporate greed putting profits over what’s right; and several tragedies at home and abroad.

But through this past year, we’ve also seen a spark.

We have seen communities come together to work on issues that seek to preserve fundamental rights for workers and economic dignity for all Americans. And through these new alliances and this increased support for our movement, we are already seeing great success.

Take Action for Safe Nurse Staffing

Nurses and healthcare workers protect patient’s lives everyday, it is time Congress stood up and protected the rights of nurses.

Write to your senators and representative and ask them to support H. R. 1907 and H. R. 1821-- two bills that would improve nurse staffing levels and protect patients and nurses alike.

Education Starts with Pre-K

The introduction of this historic early learning bill, which has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, provides an opportunity we can’t afford to miss. When we invest in early learning, we invest in our children, our economy and America’s future.

The promise of public education starts early, with high-quality early education. Write your members of Congress using the form below.

Stand Up for U.N. Workers!

The United Nations has chosen to restrict the negotiating rights of its own workers. You can speak out against this outrageous action by letting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon know that the United Nations has an obligation to treat its own employees with dignity and respect. The United Nations cannot be an effective and credible voice supporting human rights if it does not extend these same rights to its own workers. Sign the petition and send a message to Ban Ki-moon.

Tell Congress to Support Marketplace Fairness

Urge your senators and representative to support the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013—S. 336, co-sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and H.R. 684, co-sponsored in the House of Representatives by Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.).

These bills require out-of-state sellers that sell their products over the Internet, by telephone, or through the mail to collect sales tax for the state where the purchaser resides. Since 45 states already require the collection of state taxes on out-of-state sales, these bills will simply fix a tax-avoidance problem and increase state tax receipts by more than $20 billon annually. The bill levels the playing field for local businesses and exempts small businesses with less than $1 million in out-of-state sales from the requirement to collect the tax.

The Time is Now

Show your support for commonsense immigration reform by signing your name to this petition.

Stand for safe schools and communities across America

America’s duty is to provide safe and secure schools and communities for everyone. The tragic events in Tucson, Ariz., Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., and the countless acts of gun violence that occur every day in our communities, must serve as a clarion call to action. It’s time to act to keep our communities safe from violence and ensure Americans everywhere have the resources to keep their communities safe.

Creating safe, vibrant communities and safe sanctuaries for our children to learn and grow will require a balanced approach. From measures to prevent gun violence to increased mental health services and investments in our schools, we all have a role to play in creating safe communities. Join the movement.

Solution-Driven Unionism

Throughout the country, individuals, AFT state and local affiliates and the national union are leading efforts to confront challenges Americans are facing today, and are seeing promising results. Our union is meeting this moment with a new vision of unionism: solution-driven unionism. It’s an approach that is relevant and appropriate to the 21st century. An approach that is creative and visionary. An approach that advances solutions that unite the people we represent and those we serve—our students, our families and our communities. We must bring people together around agendas that serve all kids, all workers and all communities—to restore the middle class, strengthen our public schools, and invest in, not destabilize, communities.

Solution-driven unionism takes many forms. At its core it ensures that we don’t merely survive, but that we succeed. Our success also rests upon electing leaders who support this concept, which is based on collaboration as opposed to conflict and on problem-solving as opposed to finger-pointing. The tempest swirling around us has far from subsided, and the November elections can shape whether it continues to rage or gives way to a climate of seeking solutions for the common good.