Press Release

Joint Statement from AAUP President Irene Mulvey and AFT President Randi Weingarten on AAUP-AFT Partnership Talks

For Release:


Alexis Lopez

The American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers share a goal: the advancement of education in service of the common good. Education, free inquiry, and the creation, promotion and dissemination of knowledge are essential to the functioning of a free society. We are committed to working together to promote and defend education in an environment where free expression, trust in science and the basic tenets of democracy are under threat.

The AFT and the AAUP are extremely proud of the successful model we have developed for joint organizing. Our decadelong partnership has resulted in AAUP/AFT unions that represent 20,000 faculty and academic staff of all ranks, primarily but not exclusively at research-intensive public universities. Members in our joint unions benefit from the knowledge, expertise and support of both organizations.

Higher education faces serious challenges—decades of disinvestment in public institutions, the erosion of tenure, the exploitation of faculty in precarious appointments and a subsequent loss of academic freedom, attacks on teaching about race and racism, and legislative and donor interference in the curriculum and in hiring. These challenges are part of a larger attack on the public good, public employees, and their expertise and knowledge. They are best confronted with solidarity. 

Together we can accomplish what is impossible on our own. The AAUP and the AFT are entering into discussions to explore how best to strengthen our partnership. We are very proud of the work that each of our organizations does on behalf of higher education, our members and the students they serve. Through our joint organizing, we have seen that our organizations complement each other and are truly stronger together. Our discussions will investigate how we can best support our common cause, with the intent to build a stronger and more inclusive higher education movement.

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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.