Lorretta Johnson Re-elected Secretary-Treasurer; Francine Lawrence Re-elected Executive Vice President
DETROIT—Delegates at the American Federation of Teachers national convention voted resoundingly to re-elect AFT President Randi Weingarten to a third term. The vote affirms the AFT's commitment to "solution-driven unionism," a new vision of unionism that advances solutions focused on uniting union members, the people they serve and the communities in which they live.
Also re-elected to lead the 1.5 million-member union were AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson and Executive Vice President Francine Lawrence. And the union elected 43 vice presidents representing each of the AFT's divisions: K-12 teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; public employees; and healthcare workers.
"I am proud to lead a union of leaders, activists and those who make a difference for communities," said Weingarten. "Once again, we are all called to action. We must stand up against the unholy alliance that is trying to destroy democracy, kill public services, marginalize working families and destabilize communities."
Weingarten continued, "More than ever, we need to act in innovative, creative and new ways—simultaneously refuting our critics, advancing our values, connecting with community and proposing solutions. That's solution-driven unionism."
In her acceptance remarks, Johnson rallied AFT members to beat back the attacks on public education and public services. "My goal, and the goal of the American Federation of Teachers, is to continue occupying the leadership role as our country's loudest and strongest voice for both students and teachers," said Johnson. "The goal is to fight for those who cannot hire lobbyists, who cannot bankroll super PACs."
And in her remarks, Lawrence echoed the charge. "I stand before you inspired, energized and ready to link arms with you across this nation to give every child a high-quality public education, to rebuild the middle class, and to make sure every student and every American has a fair shot at the American dream," she said.
The AFT has been holding its biennial convention, which began on July 27 and ends today, in Detroit. Earlier in the convention, the more than 3,000 delegates passed a series of resolutions to increase educational and economic opportunity, including resolutions:
Taking a stand against America's fixation on high-stakes testing;Adopting a new mission statement for the union;Redoubling the union's commitment to putting Americans back to work, stabilizing communities, and investing in infrastructure and public services;Developing a nationwide anti-bullying hotline for students, parents and support staff to receive support and counseling to keep schools safe;Opposing voter-suppression laws that deny Americans a voice in our democracy;Affirming the union's support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and advocating for safe staffing levels to ensure patients receive the best care;Ensuring all children have access to high-quality early learning programs; andChallenging the corrosive impact Citizens United is having on our democracy.
The convention also highlighted key AFT priorities and programs, including Share My Lesson, which will become the largest online community for teachers to share resources and best practices; the union's partnership with First Book to provide low-income children with books of their own; investments by the AFT Innovation Fund, which solicits and supports ideas from on-the-ground educators to help improve public education; and Reconnecting McDowell, a diverse partnership in McDowell County, W.Va., to confront poverty and increase educational and economic opportunity.
Featured speakers at this year's convention included Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, historian of education at New York University and best-selling author Diane Ravitch, New York Times columnist Charles Blow and United Auto Workers President Bob King.
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