AFT Resolution

PROTECT AND EXPAND THE SOCIAL SAFETY NET

WHEREAS, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, pensions, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and disability and unemployment insurance are well-used, familiar aspects of the social safety net; and 

WHEREAS, for more than 75 years, working people and their unions collectively struggled to establish, secure and expand this set of federal, state and local programs that protect us from economic calamity; and 

WHEREAS, subsequent federal and state legislation expanded the social safety net to encompass health programs for the elderly and the poor, disability insurance and protection for private pensions, in addition to the established social insurance programs; and 

WHEREAS, the economic security acquired through contracts and federal and state legislation is under fierce, well-funded attacks that have eroded the safety net; and 

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers has consistently supported all these programs in the interests of our members, our students and our fellow Americans, and advocated for policies to alleviate economic hardship from injury, illness or brought about through the social crises of regional or national depressions, recessions or austerity budgets; and 

WHEREAS, a key part of the New Deal was the Social Security Act, including unemployment insurance, to provide income to the involuntarily unemployed and to the elderly no longer in the workforce; and 

WHEREAS, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, disability insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families all aim to provide a minimum of support, often inadequate, to various categories of the unemployed, underemployed and underpaid; and 

WHEREAS, corporate and business interests have already effectively eroded programs like unemployment and disability insurance and private guaranteed pension plans; and 

WHEREAS, corporate and business interests are also working to challenge public sector pensions and reduce and undermine Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will maintain its longstanding advocacy for the protection and expansion of the social insurance programs that support the economic security of members, students and all Americans; and 

RESOLVED, that the AFT will expand its advocacy of social safety programs by urging legislators to initiate and support state legislation that expands economic rights; and 

RESOLVED, that when the AFT considers candidates for state and federal elective office, as part of the screening and review process, it affirms their commitment to the protection and expansion of the whole social safety net; and 

RESOLVED, that the AFT supports improved Social Security benefits, and to make sure improved benefits continue for generations to come, supports funding these improvements by requiring those at top income levels to pay Social Security tax on all income above $250,000.

(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.