Press Release

American Federation of Teachers To Meet in Seattle in July

For Release: 

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Janet Bass

AFT President Randi Weingarten, Bill Gates, Ben Jealous Among Major Speakers

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers 2010 convention in Seattle July 8-11 will focus on the importance of unions building common cause with communities, and serving as agents of change to improve public schools and other institutions in which our members work.

The convention opens July 8 with AFT President Randi Weingarten’s keynote address. Other speakers will include Bill Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NAACP President Ben Jealous and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. These and additional speakers will address the more than 3,000 delegates, who will debate and vote on major union policies.

Weingarten is completing her first two-year term as AFT president. She has laid out detailed plans for improving public schools through: better labor-management collaboration, overhauling the teacher evaluation system, investing—not disinvesting—in public education, shared responsibility by all stakeholders, and removing barriers to student success associated with socioeconomic conditions. Since she was elected in July 2008, Weingarten has worked closely with several affiliates on significant reform efforts to transform public schools through the collective bargaining process. Under her leadership, the union initiated the AFT Innovation Fund with grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropies. Weingarten has visited thousands of members at their work sites, including pre-K through higher education teachers and staff, healthcare workers, and public employees.

AFT Convention at the Washington State Convention Center
Tentative Speaker Highlights:

July 8 – 9:30 a.m.
NAACP President Ben Jealous
AFT President Randi Weingarten – keynote speech

July 9 – 9:30 a.m.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) – greetings
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

July 10 – 2:30 p.m.
Bill Gates

More information and a tentative schedule is available on our AFT convention website.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.