Union Highlights


For the first time in nearly 20 years, the PDK Poll—the survey that measures public opinion about America’s public schools—has included teachers in its responses. As the AFT has been emphasizing for years, the survey shows that although parents support educators, teachers feel undervalued (half of them have seriously considered leaving the profession) and long for more voice in the education decisions that impact their classrooms. “Parents and educators agree public schools need far more investment to meet the needs of kids,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten in response to the poll results. Read more here.


After the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper, Ohio Nurses Association Interim CEO Kelly Trautner, and Texas AFT President Zeph Capo joined El Paso AFT President Ross Moore and Socorro AFT President Veronica Hernandez in releasing a joint statement. Weingarten said, “We are at a tipping point in America. In a country that has represented tolerance and hope for so many, the 250 shootings this year, on top of so many more in recent memory, have shown that no place—not schools, houses of faith, recreational centers, or locations where we shop and meet—is safe from hate in the form of a bullet from a gun.” Read the full statement.


In the wake of the tragedy in El Paso, AFT President Randi Weingarten sent a letter to Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon asking him to take a number of actions to keep our communities safe. On September 3, McMillon announced that Walmart will discontinue the sale of certain ammunition, and he publicly requested that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in stores even where state law allows it. “This is what collective action looks like,” Weingarten said. “Between the AFT and our partners, we had thousands of people sending letters, tweeting, and even showing up to Walmart stores. Walmart felt the public pressure and knew it had to change course.” Keep the pressure on Congress to expand background checks for gun sales by sharing our new action.


Randi and Evelyn at vigil
The AFT has been deeply involved in immigrant advocacy this summer: AFT President Randi Weingarten and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus, along with educators and nurses from several states, traveled to McAllen, Texas, to check on the condition of children in immigrant detention centers. Although they were turned away by border patrol agents, the activists distributed donations to a relief center. AFT volunteers have also helped reunite families and distribute food and supplies to people detained after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Mississippi. “At the end of the day, compassion and dignity and decency should be the watchwords of the United States of America,” Weingarten said. “That is who we are, and that is what we demand of our government.” Read more here.


American Educator, Fall 2019