The challenges the AFT faces demand a different approach to unionism—an approach that is relevant and appropriate to the 21st century, that is creative and visionary, and that unifies the members of our union with those we serve. This is what we call solution-driven unionism.
We know that across the AFT, there are many inspiring examples of collective work to improve our workplaces and our communities. That's why we created the Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism: to recognize extraordinary accomplishments that exemplify our mission of providing high-quality public education, healthcare and public services.
More information about the prize and the online application are available on the AFT website. We'll accept applications from June 10 to Aug. 16 and announce the winner(s) of the $25,000 prize(s) in October. By showcasing examples of what we mean by solution-driven unionism, the prize will help communicate what 21st-century unionism looks like and show that our members have the know-how and the determination to solve problems. It means that we're making a choice not simply to call out what doesn't work, but to build on what does.
Examples of the types of initiatives that might qualify for a prize include working in coalitions with community organizations and other partners to achieve shared goals; labor-management partnerships that produce concrete results for workers and the people we serve; devising solutions to improve the quality of the services we deliver; turning unfavorable conditions into opportunities for more positive outcomes; and new approaches to collective bargaining that aggressively and collaboratively move systemic reforms.
Solution-driven unionism takes many forms. At its core, it unites our members with their communities, and, in so doing, it ensures that we don't merely survive, but we succeed. [Ann Bradley]
June 10, 2013