AFT Resolution

SUPPORTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE AFT RACIAL EQUITY TASK FORCE AND THE WORK PERFORMED BY THE CONSTITUENT MEMBERS OF THE AFT CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY TASK FORCE

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals from diverse backgrounds and a wide variety of vocational interests and professions; and

WHEREAS, AFT members are employed in professional criminal justice and public safety jobs in our communities, which range from parole and probation officers to corrections officers to first responders and public safety support personnel in state and local governments as well as in school districts; and

WHEREAS, AFT President Randi Weingarten called for a task force on criminal justice and public safety to provide professionals employed in these areas an opportunity to work together to raise issues of mutual concern and to offer solutions to the problems facing our criminal justice system in order to build a stronger union, strengthen the voice in all AFT constituencies, and ensure fair and equal treatment in the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, a strong and vibrant democracy cannot function unless all people, regardless of the color of their skin or the work they do, can participate meaningfully in our society, with full rights and equal protections; and

WHEREAS, the AFT recognizes that communities are safest when all stakeholders are engaged in common solutions that impact everyone, particularly men and boys of color; and

WHEREAS, working people are strongest when united, and the union movement is strongest when it is open to all workers, regardless of where they come from, the work they do or the ZIP code they live in; and

WHEREAS, the AFT has taken a leadership role in addressing racial, socio-economic and public policy inequities as they relate to the criminal justice system, including the disenfranchisement of voting rights for convicted felons, which has a disparate impact on people of color; and

WHEREAS, the AFT racial equity task force has developed recommendations and aspirations that would ensure fair and equal treatment of men and boys of color and end institutional racism in the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, the AFT criminal justice and public safety task force has reviewed the recommendations of the racial equity task force and agrees that many of the recommendations, and certainly the aspirations, are consistent with the work being performed by AFT members employed in criminal justice and public safety jobs:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers criminal justice and public safety task force and criminal justice public safety professionals will work and support the AFT’s agenda to educate the public around the toxic and traumatic effects that incarceration has on families, communities and the nation; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will work to ensure justice for all, including civil and human rights, and to promote policies and legislation that encompass these principles and strengthen our democracy; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will support and advocate for its members who work in the field of criminal justice and public safety; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will support and advocate for alternative sentencing and options to incarceration, including treatment and family support—especially for juveniles and minors; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will support and advocate for ending mandatory prison sentences for nonviolent drug crime; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will advocate for the decriminalization of nonviolent drug offenses, and support drug treatment and counseling programs; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will support and advocate for the full restoration of voting rights for convicted felons; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will support and encourage policies aimed at reforming monetary bail requirements that lead to the unjust imprisonment of underprivileged offenders who can’t afford payment; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with all constituencies to reclaim the promise of racial equity and justice in all our communities.

(2016)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.