AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

POLITICAL ACTION

WHEREAS, freedom of association and participation in the political process are hallmarks of democratic societies and a right and duty of every American; and

WHEREAS, the professional, civic and personal lives of AFT members and their families are directly affected by legislative action on the national, state and local level; and

WHEREAS, public education, the bedrock of our democratic system of government, is under attack as never before; and

WHEREAS, the need for universal quality health coverage and for protecting patients' rights and those of health care providers continues to be addressed inadequately in Congress as well as in state legislatures; and

WHEREAS, the forces that seek to privatize vital and necessary government services have become more politically aggressive; and

WHEREAS, the viability of universal programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, are put at risk by campaigns to create private, individual accounts that place the burden of retirement on each individual, reduce the protections they now enjoy, and benefit the most affluent; and

WHEREAS, millions of public employees are currently denied the basic right to collective bargaining; weaknesses in national private sector labor law have the effect of severely limiting the right of workers to organize, and collective bargaining rights as well as the opportunity of workers through their unions to engage in political action are under attack; and

WHEREAS, the precipitous increase in costs for effective political participation threatens to mute the voice of working Americans and their organizations:

RESOLVED, that the AFT will build an even more vibrant political voice for our members and all working families by creating the most vigorous political action program in our union’s history; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will aggressively expand its political education program, continue to provide objective information on issues, identify annual legislative priorities and expand membership outreach through intensive use of conventional and new technologies; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will encourage and assist state and local affiliates to achieve the highest possible level of membership participation in political activity by championing programs that make the connection between the legislative positions we espouse and their direct effect on AFT members at the work site and that include get-out-the-vote campaigns and voter registration drives; and

RESOLVED, that the national AFT will assist affiliates in reaching out to members to substantially increase participation in the "Partners in Political Education" (PIPE) program, which makes the union stronger at the local, state and national levels. In order to assist affiliates in their efforts to raise COPE contributions, AFT will provide information on best fundraising practices, encouraging such activities at major state and local union events, and assistance in establishing voluntary COPE check-off; and

RESOLVED, that the national AFT will work with affiliates to increase contact with legislators in every congressional and state legislative district where the union represents members. Union liaisons will be enlisted to help organize members to regularly visit, lobby and invite legislators to their work sites so that elected representatives may gain more direct knowledge of the issues that are vital to the people our members serve; and

RESOLVED, that the national AFT will enhance its political action programs through coalitions with organizations that share similar values and care about issues such as public service, public education, health care and aid to children. This will include stronger ties with national, state and central labor bodies of the AFL-CIO and cooperation with like-minded groups such as civil rights organizations, community groups and associations.


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