Delegates approve per capita increase

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Convention delegates on July 19 overwhelmingly approved changes to the AFT constitution and bylaws that will provide additional resources to affiliates, spur new membership and underscore the union’s long-standing policy of working for people from all backgrounds.

Under an amendment adopted by delegates, effective Sept. 1, 2016, each local will pay a per capita of $19.03 per month (an increase of 25 cents over the current per capita), of which $1 will be dedicated to a special AFT response fund to engage members and to assist locals in crisis. Effective Sept. 1, 2017, locals will pay a per capita tax of $19.28 per month, of which $1.10 will be dedicated to this special response fund. The AFT offers a reduced per capita for lower-income members, and delegates also voted to index that income threshold for inflation to help ease the burden on these members.

Extra revenue will enable state and local affiliates to build capacity and to fight attacks on members and the institutions in which they work, several delegates said.

Also approved was an increase from 60 cents to 65 cents to the AFT Militancy/Defense Fund and an increase of 10 cents to the Solidarity Fund, effective Sept. 1, 2016. The Solidarity Fund helps states defeat anti-union ballot initiatives and legislation, and it supports AFT and affiliate work in the legislative and political arena on behalf of members.

Delegates also backed constitutional amendments that clarify and expand the mission of the AFT standing committee on civil and human rights. Along with African-Americans, this body is specifically tasked to provide materials and strategies to Asian-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Arab Americans and other racial, ethnic, religious and underrepresented groups.

Building on the success of the AFT associate membership program, delegates voted to establish a “friends of the AFT” membership. It is open to individuals who wish to support the AFT mission but are not eligible for regular or associate membership. Friends of the AFT will not have voting rights or other membership benefits, but they will be able to actively participate in the union.

[Mike Rose]