AFT Resolution

PUBLIC EDUCATION AND FREE LABOR UNIONS: CORNERSTONES OF DEMOCRACY WORLDWIDE

WHEREAS, we have entered an economic, social and geopolitical era of new realities where voters in countries around the world reject the status quo, as evidenced by political upheavals spurred by angry and frustrated middle-class workers and their families who feel they have been excluded from the benefits of the global economy; and

WHEREAS, this political dynamic has resulted in the ascension of autocratic political figures who wage attacks on public education and public sector labor unions, institutions that have been critical to the growth of democracies since World War II; and

WHEREAS, unbridled expressions of nationalism are reverberating around the world and reflect a narrow national interest aimed at walling off a country’s economy and crushing its enemies, movements that tear apart democratic governance; and

WHEREAS, this new nationalism takes pride in demonizing the media, seeks to debase the voting process, weakens the voice of the judiciary, and threatens our freedoms of speech and association; these attacks have been accompanied by a rise in xenophobia, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers has a long history of assisting the development of democracy by:

  • Building the capacity of free labor unions, especially education unions, in Latin America, southern Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia; and
  • Conducting civic education projects worldwide, such as “Education for Democracy” and “Civic Voices,” that have helped thousands of teachers and students, in more than 30 countries, learn how the participation of citizens in their government sustains democracy; and

WHEREAS, the AFT is recognized as a leader among labor unions around the world in protesting violations of human rights and championing democratic activists and movements:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers, with Education International and UNESCO, will develop classroom materials and curriculum content to implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal SDG 4.7, which promotes “global citizenship”; and

RESOLVED, that AFT leaders will be available to participate in person and through virtual communication platforms sponsored by UNESCO, where the AFT’s work in civic education for democracy can be showcased; and

RESOLVED, that as a member of the EI Middle East Task Force, the AFT will present EI with a project for promoting our partnership with the Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel that focuses on the “dialogue” methodology and pedagogy for students and teachers on restorative justice and tolerance; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with EI, Public Services International and the AFL-CIO to strengthen the Workers’ Group at the International Labor Organization to better defend labor rights, collective bargaining and freedom of association; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will share with its international labor union allies social communication tools, including messaging applications, social media platforms, and other member-to-member engagement strategies that inform and mobilize members against the propaganda of demagogues and right-wing extremism.

(2018)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.