AFT Resolution

ENGAGING OUR MEMBERS IN RECLAIMING THE PROMISE OF AMERICA

WHEREAS, we continue to fight many battles, including the fight to reclaim public education, the fight for investment in our public institutions, the fight for economic, racial and social justice, and the fight for the promise of America; and

WHEREAS, while we made progress toward realizing the promise of America in the last century, with a thriving labor movement that grew the middle class, we were closing educational achievement gaps and expanding opportunity for all, and we were moving toward a more equitable and tolerant nation—even if that progress often was too slow—and sowing hope for a better future; and

WHEREAS, that progress has been eclipsed by a growing anger that the American dream is disappearing, that poverty is growing and good jobs diminishing; anger at the privatization and defunding of our public schools, at cuts in public services, at an economy and democracy that is out of balance and feels rigged against working families; and

WHEREAS, some want to gain power by stoking that anger, by dividing us against each other, by chipping away at the pillars of basic decency and tolerance that support our democracy; and

WHEREAS, we recognize that underneath that populist anger is a deep desire for something better, an aspiration to remove the barriers—economic, social and educational barriers, the barriers of bigotry and intolerance—that hold people back; and

WHEREAS, as unionists, it is incumbent on us to speak to, and fight for, the aspirations that underlie that anger and help channel that anger into action, to mobilize and unite our members and the communities we serve, and to fight for a common vision of America, where everyone has the chance to reach their potential, where our schools, colleges, hospitals and public services have the resources they need, and where our economy is in balance and all have a chance to thrive; and

WHEREAS, power doesn’t yield willingly, the corporate and powerful special interests that oppose us will not be deterred by the loss of a single court case or by an electoral setback, and we will not succeed without a fight; and

WHEREAS, our ability to fight and win depends on the strength of the relationships, among all members, that hold our union together, and those relationships are strengthened through conversation, contact, common experience and the identification of shared values like professionalism, respect, equality, fairness and self-determination; and

WHEREAS, our union has now reached, in our 100th year, an unprecedented level of activity—engaging members in conversations and campaigns, developing the immeasurable energy and creativity of our union activists, and mobilizing for important fights from school boards to corporate boardrooms, and in state legislatures and city halls, for our members and for the communities we serve:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will intensify the mobilization efforts underway so that we reach the goals we set: to double the number of member activists to 10 percent, triple the number of members who engage in any union activities to 70 percent, and—in our 100th year—reach out and speak to 100 percent of our members. And while fewer than 10 percent of those we represent are agency fee payers, we will reach all of them, with the goal of their choosing to have their voices heard as union members; and

RESOLVED, that the basis of these efforts is the understanding that our union is the vehicle to make a difference in the lives of our members and the communities we serve; and

RESOLVED, that we will be accountable to each other—activists and leaders on the local, state and national levels—to achieve these goals; and

RESOLVED, that the national union will support this recommitment, to our members, to our families, to our communities and to our ideals, in every way possible; and

RESOLVED, that together, as a union that engages and works to unite all members and the communities we serve, we will reclaim the promise of America.

(2016)

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.