AFT Resolution

EXTERNAL ORGANIZING

WHEREAS, our members and the communities in which they live want the opportunity to achieve the American dream, including higher wages; a voice and respect in the workplace and in our democracy; quality healthcare; retirement security; great, safe and welcoming public schools; affordable higher education; a vibrant democracy; and the freedom to live safely and free from bigotry and hate; and

WHEREAS, unions enable working people to achieve that which is impossible for people to achieve alone; and

WHEREAS, we are in a time like no other, where forces funded by individuals who want to defund and destabilize organized labor work toward their goal of massive disinvestment in public services, quality healthcare and public schools, while simultaneously an activist spirit is spreading across the country, as the teacher walkouts and student movements for safety demonstrate; and

WHEREAS, the challenges posed by our opponents’ incessant attempts to silence employees and restrict unions require that we bring a renewed aggressiveness and new creativity to developing pathways to membership in the American Federation of Teachers, to ensure every potential member has a voice and dignity at work; and

WHEREAS, our original jurisdiction in K-12 schools, beginning with our founding locals in Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia, created not only an enduring legacy of fighting for and caring for our members and the communities we serve but also a foundation for assisting educators in states with no collective bargaining—educators who have inspired us with their activism—to further strengthen their local unions in order to have the power to stand up for their professions, their students and their schools; and

WHEREAS, the AFT is now one of the world’s largest healthcare unions, growing at a rapid pace, and AFT Nurses and Health Professionals is a proven leader in the fight for guaranteed healthcare for all, for safe staffing levels for nurses and patients, and against the corporatization of patient care. Our members lead these efforts at home and in disaster-stricken areas to provide healthcare for those in need; and 

WHEREAS, the AFT is the largest union for higher education workers in the country, fighting for the investment our students and colleges and universities need, the opportunity to attain advanced degrees without the crippling debt that now affects so many, and the economic stability and academic freedom educators require. That is why we are working to ensure that contingent faculty, and full-time tenure-track faculty, nontenure-track faculty and graduate teaching/research assistants, have a union so they have a voice in decision-making and can stand up for high standards of academic quality and academic freedom; and  

WHEREAS, organizing paraprofessionals and school-related personnel is a historically defining feature of the AFT, and PSRP organizing across the country remains an important part of the work we do to strengthen our union; and

WHEREAS, unions are the pathway for working people to create jobs with higher wages, a voice and respect in the workplace, quality healthcare, retirement security and a stronger democracy; and

WHEREAS, we recognize the moral obligation to help build unions in places where there is no statutory basis for collective bargaining, and we are proud of our unprecedented efforts to organize among preK-12 teachers and PSRPs in states with political structures extremely hostile to working families; and 

WHEREAS, we organize in order to grow and support all of the union’s constituencies (and those they serve), and we will continue to extend our reach:

RESOLVED, that the following remain primary and immutable priorities for the American Federation of Teachers: to organize and expand the number of unionized workers in this country, to gain and deepen the membership of the AFT, and to build our union's power and extend our reach; and 

RESOLVED, that the AFT commits to double down on strategic organizing opportunities that increase our membership among nurses and healthcare professionals, growing out and beyond geographic areas where AFT membership in healthcare is already substantial; and 

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue organizing all workers at research institutions, colleges and universities, and expand the use of alternative models of organization for contingent faculty, to reflect the increasingly itinerant nature of their work, and will continue to build and protect the rights of graduate teaching and research assistants to collectively bargain; and 

RESOLVED, that the AFT will grow its membership using creative pathways outside of existing structures, with a focus on developing leadership and increasing activism in support of our values and priorities, and that within these new structures, we will provide opportunities to participate in the union’s many benefits, communities and advocacy efforts; and 

RESOLVED, that the AFT’s original jurisdiction in K-12 public schools will continue to inform our work into the future, including our continued commitment to organize in nonbargaining states and to ensure that preK-12 educators have a voice and are empowered to address the needs of their profession and the students and communities they serve in every state and territory of the United States; and 

RESOLVED, that the AFT will provide strategic assistance to increase public employee membership; and preserve the integrity of our public professional members in maintaining healthy, safe and sustainable communities; and

RESOLVED, that in all sectors covered by AFT constituencies, the AFT will develop deeper relationships and connection with independent unions that share our values of creating great public schools for all students; advocating for affordable, accessible and high-quality healthcare; defending democracy and pluralism; working against discrimination, hatred and bigotry; and pushing for economic opportunity for all.

 

(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.