AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is one of the most diverse and fastest-growing racial/ethnic groups in the United States, growing over four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population and is expected to double to over 47 million by 2060; and 

WHEREAS, the current AAPI community in the U.S. is at 24 million strong and is a mosaic of rich cultural and ethnic diversity, which represents over 100 languages and 50 ethnic groups, and has made significant social, artistic, cultural, educational, literary, culinary, political and economic contributions to American life; and 

WHEREAS, Asian American workers have been integral to the U.S. labor movement since the 1800s, when plantation workers in the Hawaiian Islands began forming unions to protest working conditions and continue to play critical roles throughout the United States in building political and labor power; and 

WHEREAS, the pandemic exposed the severe structural challenges facing low-wage workers, many of whom are Southeast Asian workers who often experience job insecurity and neglect in the workplace; and 

WHEREAS, America's broken immigration system is forcing Asian immigrants into the shadow economy, where they suffer wage theft, on-the-job fatalities and pay violations; and 

WHEREAS, AAPIs need to have equal access to federal programs and services and expanded language access and increased efforts to combat discrimination; and 

WHEREAS, anti-Asian racism has been a consistent part of American history, incidents have risen due to the association of COVID-19 with Asian people, according to the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center: Close to 3,800, racist incidents were reported last year, a significant increase from previous years. Incidents of hate and racism manifest in different ways, and the AAPI community has experienced everything from physical attacks, verbal harassment and violence leading to death, as seen in the horrific fatal shootings at Atlanta-based massage parlors in March 2021; and

WHEREAS, there is a shortage of preK-12 teachers, paraprofessionals and school-related personnel, school administrators, public service employees and healthcare workers who are Asian; and

WHEREAS, our members work with the AAPI community across all constituencies (teachers, PSRPs, state and local government workers, higher education faculty and staff, early childhood educators and healthcare professionals) and need the appropriate preparation, information and resources to work effectively with this diverse population:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will focus our efforts to elevate the importance of AAPI issues to the union in three key areas:

  1. Programs and initiatives
  2. Policy and campaigns
  3. Communications

1. Programs and Initiatives

  • Extend and expand direct services to our affiliates and members working with AAPI students and families;
  • Continue to support immigration information and citizenship clinics;
  •  Help AFT affiliates find opportunities to support AAPI members;
  • Strengthen our work on citizenship and immigration issues and English language learner issues (including continuing to be a strong advocate for, and provide high-quality resources to, non-AAPI immigrants and ELLs of all language backgrounds and countries of origin);
  •  Expand and deepen the AFT’s strategic state, local and national partnerships with AAPI advocacy, legislative and political organizations, and faith-based networks, as well as with community-based organizations committed to improving the lives of AAPI families;
  • Create a domestic plan of action that integrates the AFT’s international work in Asia to promote democracy and civil society;
  • Advocate for improved recruitment, support and retention of AAPI teachers, PSRPs, public employees, nurses and other healthcare professionals, and higher education faculty, with initiatives that are inclusive of grow-your-own programs and more traditional recruitment routes but that do not rely significantly on the H1B Visa Program for recruitment;
  • Promote ethical recruiting and workplace treatment practices of H1B visa holders who are brought to the country; Support state and federal legislation that promotes the teaching and learning of Asian Pacific American history in schools across the United States; 
  • Advocate for expanded curriculum that is inclusive of Asian American and Pacific Islander history and culture;
  • Support trainings on the shared history of structural racism, civil rights, identity, immigration and citizenship with other Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, with the goal of building greater awareness and power together; 
  •  Continue to provide AFT AAPI-themed publications, culturally relevant professional development and other union-sponsored resources, such as Colorín Colorado, Share My Lesson, to increase our members’ efficacy with instruction and on AAPI parent and community outreach; and

2. Policy and Campaigns

  • Develop and champion a robust AFT legislative agenda and campaigns, to be shared with the president’s administration, AAPI lawmakers and allies on Capitol Hill, state and local legislative and government organizations, and the broader community, that focus on:

1.          Comprehensive immigration reform and immigration executive actions;

2.          Passage of the federal DREAM Act;

3.          Higher wages and worker protections;

4.          Greater healthcare access for the AAPI community;

5.          Early childhood education and bilingual education;

6.          More career and college preparation programs to prepare more AAPI youth to succeed in the workplace and graduate with higher education degrees;

7.          Recruitment and support of AAPI teachers, paraprofessionals and school support staff, professors and adjunct faculty, and healthcare workers; and

  • Maximize current potential of political campaigns by incorporating multiple AAPI voices and needs;
  • Call for greater disaggregated data on AAPIs to address masked needs within AAPI subgroups. Lack of data contributes to the model minority myth;
  • Commit to have an AFT presence and participation in AAPI events, such as educational conferences, community outreach events;
  • Bolster organizing campaigns/events targeting AAPIs through expanded work on issues that directly affect them; and

3. Communications

  • Be proactive about addressing the urgent needs of the AAPI community where they live and across all settings where AFT members work: in schools, public institutions, hospitals and institutions of higher education; and
  • Enact a comprehensive interdepartmental communications strategy that includes staffing, is informed by AFT policy and programmatic priorities, and includes traditional and new media.

(July 17, 2022)