Please enjoy a few shots from our EOTY Luncheon. Â We were grateful to have a powerful presentation from the volunteers at the Eastern Service Workers Association. Â If you would like more information on their group, what they do, and how YOU can helpÂ contact them at 609-695-9562. Â Through our commitment to donate to them yearly, we know that we are supporting the rights of those who are vulnerable, one of the hallmarks of a strong union!
The nurses and health professionals working at St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee have ratified a new three-year contract. The healthcare workers represented by the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals gave no concessions but their collective action resulted in a contract that improved wages, staffing and other benefits.
Rhode Island College may be the neglected âmiddle childâ of public higher education in the state, with faculty who are paid 30 percent less than their peers at the stateâs larger university and students who have no access to the free college program offered at the stateâs community college. But RIC faculty union members are working to change all that, advocating at the state level for better access to free tuition for all Rhode Island students, improvements to the school of education, and pay raises that will at least bring them up to the national average for professors at similar institutions. Theyâll be visiting legislators, rallying and fighting as their campaign, Respect RIC, continues throughout the fall.
Graduate employees at Brown University and Georgetown University are on their way to a union election, taking an historic approach to gaining recognition and a pathway to collective bargaining. Rejecting the Trump-dominated National Labor Relations Board, they are instead planning union recognition elections supervised by the American Arbitration Association this fall. At Brown, a strong majority of the 1,250 graduate employees have already indicated support for their union, Stand Up for Graduate Student Employees, and at Georgetown, a similarly robust majority of the schoolâs 1,000 graduate workers have backed the Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees. Both unions are affiliated with the AFT.
Wisconsinâs gubernatorial race couldnât offer a starker choice between the current anti-education governor, Scott Walker and challenger Tony Evers, who is a career educator and current state superintendent. The AFT is all in for the race: AFT Wisconsin has endorsed Evers, and members recently joined AFT President Randi Weingarten to talk with him about reversing the devastating budget cuts and threats to academic freedom that Walker has wrought upon the state.
As President Trump sets up tent cities for immigrant children along the southern borderâplaces where children will be warehoused for undetermined weeks at a time, with no access to their legal right to educationâthe AFT and more than 70 other advocacy organizations are fighting back with a new initiative that underscores the fact that it is illegal to prevent children from attending school, regardless of their immigration status. The initiative also provides practical tools educators can use to protect the undocumented children in their own classrooms.
A class-action suit filed in federal court sets out serious allegations that student loan servicer Navient has misled borrowers in public service professions from accessing a loan forgiveness program to boost its own profits. The landmark complaint, which seeks millions in damages and class-wide injunctive relief, details a spate of systematic misrepresentations, untruths and misdirection pedaled by Navient to stop borrowers from enrolling in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a 10-year payoff plan administered by rival servicer FedLoan.
Nurses at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington voted to ratify a new three-year contract on Sept. 27. The nurses, who are members of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, spent several months negotiating for safe staffing and competitive wages at the hospital. "This contract is a clear reflection of our commitments to our patients," says Molly Wallner, the VFNHP bargaining committee's lead negotiator. "However, our fight for safe staffing and prioritizing the best possible patient care is far from over."
Members of Rutgers AAUP-AFT and its two sister unions packed the faculty senate meeting at Rutgers University in New Jersey Sept. 21, holding signs, shouting from the back of the room and asking hard questions of university President Robert Barchi as he delivered the State of the University address. Union contracts expired months ago, and contract negotiations have been rocky at best. AFT President Randi Weingarten joined the rally before the meeting, adding to the impact of the protest.
Massachusetts residents are back in their homes after a series of gas explosions and fires shook three communitiesâLawrence, Andover and North Andoverâin the Merrimack Valley on Sept. 13. Over the weekend following the explosions, many AFT Massachusetts members who live or work near the disaster volunteered at Lawrence schools that served as shelters to help distribute donated items to area residents. âItâs been tough. There is a lot of hurt going on in the community but we are resilient. We are going to recover,â says Lawrence Teachers Union President Frank McLaughlin.
More than 120 AFT members took in a rich professional development series presented by the AFT at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference Sept. 12-16 in Washington, D.C. Along with practical sessions on classroom practice the conference, which included presentations by all three AFT executive officers, focused on fighting the destructive education policy of the Trump administration, ensuring that equity continues to be a robust part of public education and communicating the urgency of getting out the vote this November.