Union Highlights

FIGHTING THE OPIOID CRISIS IN OUR COMMUNITIES

The AFT has developed a free online course to help members combat the opioid crisis. Created by faculty and staff at Harvard Medical School, the course aims to address the widely recognized training and information gaps members may encounter when working in communities affected by opioid addiction. Any AFT member—from librarians to teachers to school nurses—can use this course to learn how to recognize the signs of addiction, what to do when someone is overdosing, and more. Take the course.

VICTORY IN LOS ANGELES

UTLA parents and kids march for teachersAfter two years of negotiations and six days on the picket line, members of United Teachers Los Angeles have a new contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District that makes a clear commitment to the resources and conditions necessary for teachers to teach and kids to learn. Parents, students, clergy members, and the entire union community joined with Los Angeles educators to convince city leaders to reorder their priorities and put public schools first. Combined with the successful strike of teachers at Accelerated charter schools, the first charter educators to strike in California, the win represents nothing short of a sea change for educators in L.A. and for public education in the country. Read more about this historic win.

TEACHERS SHINE A LIGHT ON INJUSTICE

Educators assembled in the border city of El Paso, Texas, in February for a “Teach-In for Freedom” organized by 2018 National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning. The event drew attention across the country to the plight of the thousands of migrant children who were held in detention by the U.S. government. AFT President Randi Weingarten led the group in a somber reflection of the lifelong impacts that these oppressive tactics have on immigrant children and their families. The AFT also donated Spanish books for the event, which featured lessons and talks by educators and activists.

VICTORY IN WEST VIRGINIA—AGAIN!

More than 30,000 educators in West Virginia walked out of their classrooms in February in response to a state funding bill that would have drained critical resources from public education. AFT President Randi Weingarten joined teachers and support staff on the picket line to protest the partisan bill that appeared to be driven by outside wealthy interests, such as Americans for Prosperity, that want to privatize and defund public schools. Educators called off the strike when the bill was killed in the state’s House of Delegates. “Let West Virginia serve as a lesson to those who feign devotion to our students but do the opposite,” said Weingarten. “We’ve dealt with these shenanigans for a while, but what has changed is that we are willing to engage in direct action as a last resort.” Read more.

–THE AFT COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT

American Educator, Spring 2019
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