AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

EMERGENCY STEPS TO RETAIN AND PROTECT PROFESSIONALS IN EDUCATION UNDER DIFFICULT TIMES

WHEREAS, the most recent economic downturn was the worst recession since the Great Depression; and

WHEREAS, states, school districts and local governments are now facing a fiscal crisis, resulting in cuts to vital public services; and

WHEREAS, hundreds of thousands of educators across the country are threatened with layoffs as a result of these state and local budget shortfalls; and

WHEREAS, large job losses in the public sector could threaten the overall economic recovery; and

WHEREAS, school districts and public higher education institutions nationally are facing a severe cut in state support; and

WHEREAS, this reduction in state support for preK-12 education could result in states eliminating nearly 100,000 education jobs; and

WHEREAS, these layoffs will result in increasing class sizes and dramatic program cuts that will shortchange our students; and

WHEREAS, public colleges and universities also face reductions in state support; and

WHEREAS, the proposed cuts to higher education are in addition to cuts that have already been adopted in prior years; and

WHEREAS, further cuts to public higher education will increase class sizes and adversely affect both access and affordability; and

WHEREAS, AFT members scheduled to be laid off during the next school year will lose their health insurance and will have to pay 102 percent of the total cost of their previous employer-sponsored plan, as allowed by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) if they wish to continue health insurance; and

WHEREAS, these premiums are unaffordable especially for an unemployed worker; and

WHEREAS, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided a premium subsidy of 65 percent of this premium to be subsidized by the federal government for workers who involuntarily lost their jobs and their health insurance Sept. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2009, and subsequent legislation has extended the 65 percent subsidy for workers losing their jobs and health insurance through May 31, 2010:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO urge Congress to immediately adopt legislation to create an Education Jobs Fund that will continue services and programs for students and preserve education jobs in both preK-12 public schools and public institutions of higher education and expand the COBRA premium subsidy eligibility period through the end of 2010 to ensure laid-off workers can afford to continue their health insurance.


(2010)