AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the 1.4 million members of the American Federation of Teachers have a long and proud tradition of advocating on behalf of high-quality public education and public services, and universal healthcare in our country, and for human and civil rights here and abroad; and

WHEREAS, as a member of the United States Senate, Barack Obama has consistently supported AFT’s position on the issues important to our members, the institutions in which we work and the people we serve, and has a record of fighting for high-quality public education, healthcare and public services; while John McCain is running a campaign committed to continuing many of the failed policies of the Bush administration; and

WHEREAS, the AFT and its members are committed to improving the public and private institutions in which we work; strengthening public education; raising standards of conduct and academic achievement for all students; expanding educational opportunities for disadvantaged children; increasing access to and the affordability of higher education; providing quality, affordable healthcare and needed public services to all Americans; and supporting working families; and

WHEREAS, Barack Obama supports a preK-12 agenda that will focus on the needs of children beginning at birth and continuing with world-class public schools with outstanding teachers and school staff, and has consistently opposed private school vouchers; while John McCain supports private school vouchers and other unproven schemes that undercut public education; and

WHEREAS, Barack Obama has stated that "No Child Left Behind has done more to stigmatize and demoralize our students and teachers in struggling schools than it has to marshal the talent and the determination and the resources to turn them around. That’s what’s wrong with No Child Left Behind, that’s what we must change in a fundamental way," while John McCain believes that NCLB’s threat of tough sanctions gives schools a big incentive to succeed and has voted against multiple efforts to fully fund NCLB, leaving schools with strict requirements without providing needed resources to help meet those requirements; and WHEREAS, Barack Obama is committed to providing affordable, accessible healthcare to all Americans, including children, while John McCain’s proposal is similar to President Bush’s failed plan and would make the employer’s contribution to healthcare premiums part of taxable income, essentially creating a new tax for working families; and

WHEREAS, Barack Obama is dedicated to making college affordable for all Americans by increasing the maximum Pell Grant and providing students and their families with a fully refundable annual tax credit worth $4,000 for tuition and fees, while John McCain voted to make college more expensive for students and their families by raising interest rates on student loans for the benefit of private lenders; and WHEREAS, Barack Obama believes that workers have an inalienable right to join a union without fear of harassment or intimidation and is a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and will continue to fight for its passage in Congress and has promised to sign it into law if elected, while John McCain voted against EFCA; and

WHEREAS, Barack Obama is committed to ending the wholesale privatization of vital government services, opposes the widespread use of private contractors doing the jobs that government employees do well, and will give unions and employees a voice in federal contracting decisions, while John McCain voted to allow privatization and outsourcing of government jobs; and

WHEREAS, Barack Obama co-sponsored the Re-Empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Trade workers (RESPECT) Act, which will overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s Kentucky River trilogy of decisions classifying hundreds of thousands of nurses, construction, and professional workers as “supervisors” who are not protected by federal labor law; and

WHEREAS, Barack Obama economic plan proposes an aggressive strategy to create good, middle-class jobs; would expand federal funding for research; would invest in rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure; would end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas; and would make long-term investments in education, training and workforce development while "restoring fairness" to the tax code, repealing the Bush administration’s tax cuts for families making more than $250,000, adjusting the alternative minimum tax to avoid affecting most middle-class taxpayers; while John McCain has proposed a tax plan that would give billions to corporations and would cut key programs aimed at helping working families; and

WHEREAS, Barack Obama opposes privatizing Social Security or cutting benefits, supports strengthening Medicare and eliminating all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year, while John McCain supports replacing Social Security with privatized accounts and expanding the privatization and means testing of Medicare; and

WHEREAS, Barack Obama has steadfastly opposed the war in Iraq and has throughout his campaign pledged to bring our troops home; and

WHEREAS, Barack Obama has, through his historic run for president, infused the election with energy, excitement and purpose and brought hundreds of thousands of new voters into the political process;

RESOLVED, for the sake of our country, the children and citizens we serve, the institutions in which we work, the membership of the AFT and the future of this great union, that the American Federation of Teachers hereby endorse the candidacy of Barack Obama for president of the United States; and

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers, its state and local affiliates and members commit themselves to tireless and resolute support of Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign in 2008; and

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers, its state and local affiliates and members conduct voter registration programs to maximize the number of members who are registered to vote and to turn out in support of Barack Obama for president; and

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers and its state and local affiliates engage and recruit members to participate in the AFT’s member-to-member communications to ensure that AFT members are well-informed on the issues and the candidates' positions on these issues.