AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers and the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico have a long and proud tradition of fighting to improve the lives of working families; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers, the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico and its local union the AMPR-Local Sindical are committed to our shared values:

  • A healthy economy that provides opportunity for workers, a living wage, a decent retirement, and the right to join a union and bargain collectively;
  • Great neighborhood public schools for every child, including high-quality and affordable public higher education;
  • Affordable, quality healthcare;
  • A strong and thriving democracy with self-determination and local control; and
  • The elimination of discrimination, hatred and bigotry, so we can create a more fair and just society for all; and

WHEREAS, the AFT and the AMPR-Local Sindical have been working together over the last several months on projects such as:

  • The AFT and the AMPR-Local Sindical sent a joint letter to the PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act) control board to oppose devastating funding cuts to Puerto Rico’s education program;
  • The AFT and AFT-affiliated unions in New York City ensured that Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico President Aida Diaz’s testimony on education funding cuts before the PROMESA board was amplified by a demonstration and press conference;
  • Supported by the AFT, Hedge Clippers—a Wall Street accountability campaign—continues to expose vulture hedge funds for their role in causing and exacerbating the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico;
  • The AFT conducted trainings with AMPR-Local Sindical on organizing and leadership development to improve communications and member engagement;
  • AMPR-Local Sindical mobilized members around an Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools action; and
  • Recognizing the shared threats to our organizations and the common concerns of our members, the AFT and the AMPR-Local Sindical continue to fight for the resources and protections our members and the communities they serve need and deserve; and

WHEREAS, Puerto Rico is in an ongoing financial crisis related to the staggering debt owed by the government, in large part due to exploitive practices by vulture hedge funds; and

WHEREAS, there has never been a time of greater urgency in Puerto Rico; and

WHEREAS, the AFT has been a leader in working with Wall Street accountability campaigns, bringing attention to the suffering caused by vulture hedge funds and to hold them accountable; and

WHEREAS, in continuing to exploit and take advantage of the people of Puerto Rico, hedge fund operators and the banks are attempting to be first in line to be repaid by the government—leapfrogging ahead of the government’s obligations to the children in our schools and working people who have labored for and earned pensions; and

WHEREAS, as a result of the financial emergency in Puerto Rico, the educators, students and families of Puerto Rico are facing the threat of 184 school closings—which will displace some 27,000 K-12 students and 2,088 educators; and

WHEREAS, other harmful proposals are being considered, including shortening the school year, reducing the number of school days and other cuts that will have a devastating impact on students—particularly the large numbers of those who are economically disadvantaged and rely on school nutrition programs; and

WHEREAS, in an attempt to resolve the financial crisis, there is a proposal to cut higher education funding by 50 percent, which would endanger accreditation and threaten students’ ability to access federal financial assistance; and

WHEREAS, educators in Puerto Rico face significant attacks on their pensions and on collective bargaining rights; and

WHEREAS, students and educators already learn and teach in grossly underfunded schools, which will face even further deterioration; and

WHEREAS, public education and the rights of working people are under siege and at risk every day, everywhere—in the U.S. mainland and in Puerto Rico and the other territories:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will work to assist the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico and the AMPR-Local Sindical in every way appropriate, including in advancing community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining, political activism and member mobilization; and

RESOLVED, that as educators and trade unionists, we must stand together to protect public education and to improve the lives of the people of Puerto Rico; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT stands in solidarity with the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico, the AMPR-Local Sindical and other trade unions to find solutions that advance our shared values of safeguarding public education and workers’ rights through collective bargaining.