AFT Resolution

“REV IT UP”: REGISTER, EDUCATE, VOTE!

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers, its state federations, locals and councils, and its members have a long, proud and distinguished history of being leaders and active participants in strengthening the democratic process and promoting civic engagement; and

WHEREAS, the AFT and its members promote and defend the freedom of working people to earn a decent living, to access important public services like good schools and high-quality healthcare, and to retire with dignity; and

WHEREAS, the AFT and its members champion economic and racial justice, and a strong and vibrant democracy that includes a free press, an independent judiciary, a thriving labor movement, a stable system of checks and balances, the protection of the right to vote and the civil rights of all; and

WHEREAS, the Koch brothers, the DeVos family, other right-wing plutocrats, and elected officials like Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner are committed to destroying the labor movement, gutting public education and public services, and rigging the political and economic systems against working families; and

WHEREAS, the Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut is a scam that further rigs the economy against working families, providing 83 percent of the tax breaks to the top 1 percent at the expense of investing in public education, infrastructure and healthcare, and adding $1.5 trillion to the national deficit, which would require cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to pay for corporate giveaways; and

WHEREAS the Trump-DeVos agenda, with a complicit McConnell-Ryan Congress, is predicated on destabilizing and defunding public education and vital public services, including expanding private school voucher programs, favoring for-profit colleges over the needs of students, cutting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) programs by 25 percent, and attacking and defunding the Affordable Care Act; and

WHEREAS, a vibrant system of checks and balances, as envisioned in the United States Constitution, is needed more now than at any time in recent memory, to safeguard democracy and ensure that all people have the representation they need to achieve a better, more secure life for themselves, their families and their communities—a checks and balances system that can be achieved through the 2018 elections; and

WHEREAS, the positive change being sought by the resistance movement, as exemplified by the Women’s March, the #MeToo movement, the immigrant rights movement, and the Parkland High School-inspired March for Our Lives, can be advanced and secured through successful elections in 2018; and

WHEREAS, the educators of West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and Colorado rallied an entire country and demonstrated the power and effectiveness of union collective action, action that achieved gains for educators, children and public schools, and these gains can be further advanced by electing pro-public education, pro-working family candidates; and

WHEREAS, the results of the special elections in 2017 and 2018 have demonstrated that Americans reject the divisive policies of the Trump-McConnell-Ryan agenda and instead want candidates and policies that advocate for public education, quality healthcare and an economy that works for all Americans; and

WHEREAS, the 2018 elections are an opportunity to renounce the divisive politics and reverse the anti-worker policies that have besieged our country, and instead to elect leaders who will fight for working families at the local, state and federal levels; and

WHEREAS, Illinois Federation of Teachers and American Federation of Teachers members have historically turned out to vote in very high numbers, but nationwide more than 40 percent of eligible voters did not vote in 2016, underscoring the need to engage and mobilize union family members and the general public, including young voters and voters from communities of color; and

WHEREAS, the AFT, its members and the labor movement are longtime leaders of collective action and are trusted voices on issues of importance to our country, and unions, historically and today, are the best vehicle for working people to join together to seek and secure a better life and the American dream:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers, its state federations and its locals commit to engaging and mobilizing our 1.7 million members, their families, their communities and the general public to elect pro-public education, pro-public service and pro-worker candidates at the local, state and federal levels in the 2018 elections; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT, its state federations and its locals will “REV It Up” in 2018. We will dedicate the necessary resources to effectively register and mobilize new voters, and to educate all voters on the issues of this election; and

RESOLVED, that AFT members will care, fight and show up to vote in the 2018 elections.

(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.