AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers recognizes high-quality healthcare to be a human right, not a commodity, and is committed to this fight as a part of social justice work; and

WHEREAS, a person’s health is dependent not only on access to high-quality healthcare facilities and professionals but also on social determinants such as housing, education, employment, community environment, lack of transportation and environmental stress; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. has one of the largest income-based health disparities in the world, according to the journal Health Affairs. Among the poorest third of Americans studied, 38.2 percent report being in “fair or poor” health, compared with 12.3 percent of the richest third;[1] and

WHEREAS, marginalized people have been confined for decades to neighborhoods with limited and inadequate resources due to improper funding exacerbated by a starved tax base created in part by policies such as “redlining”; and

WHEREAS, the professional healthcare workforce does not reflect the diversity of our nation, nor the direction of population growth in the U.S.; and 

WHEREAS, according to a 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, America’s nurse workforce was 75.4 percent white, 10 percent black, 8.3 percent Asian, 4.8 percent Hispanic and the remaining listed as other;[2] and

WHEREAS, healthcare professionals have an ethical and moral duty to do no harm; but as a result of racist practices and implicit bias, harm continues to be done in communities of color:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will work to form a national task force charged with issuing recommendations for actions that can be taken at the local and state levels for creating a healthcare workforce that reflects the community being served and which creates a care and delivery system that eliminates rather than perpetuates racial disparities; and

RESOLVED, that our union will advocate for the creation of joint labor-management committees with the purpose of ensuring that hospitals known to be high-quality care facilities are held accountable for diversifying their staff; and

RESOLVED, that our union at the local, state and national levels will work with members and community leaders to promote opportunities in the field of healthcare in communities of color; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with our affiliates to advocate for programs to assist with entry and completion of school and training requirements for healthcare positions; and

RESOLVED, that our union will assist affiliates with the creation of contract language that supports the recruitment and retention of people of color; and

RESOLVED, that our union will advocate for the creation and implementation of clear career pathways; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with affiliates to research successful programs, and help develop and advocate for the inclusion of cultural competency and community engagement trainings that educate the workforce on racial bias at all healthcare education programs in colleges and universities.