The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Convention: A Preview

I will be attending the AFT Convention (See program here) next week in Boston, one of over 2,000 union members from across the nation. The convention will welcome guests, Vice President Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, First Lady Jill Biden and other political and educational leaders.

The delegates are elected by members from the thousands of locals across the nation. The AFT represents teachers and other educators, nurses and health care workers from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and other large cites as well health care workers from North Dakota to Florida, over a million members.

Any local union can submit a resolution and about a dozen committees debate the resolutions, every delegate chooses a committee and participates in the debates (See the Constitutional Amendment and Resolutions here). The debate in the committees is frequently vigorous. The committees choose three priority resolutions to report to the entire convention. A dozen microphones scattered across the floor; delegates line up and debate the resolutions setting organizational policies; over 2,000 members participating in debate, the essence of democratic decision-making.

Divisional Meetings (higher education, K-12, retirees, health care) discuss latest issues with thought leaders from across the nation, an opportunity to speak with teachers from around our nation.

In the waning days in June the Supreme Court issued three monumental decisions: rulings declaring three issues unconstitutional, Roe v Wade, Maine’s prohibition on using public funds in religious schools and New York State’s strict gun control law.  How will the AFT respond?  How will the AFT respond to attacks on the LGBT community? To attacks on teacher speech in the classroom.

The convention will establish policies and responses.

Teachers vote, teachers’ family vote, teachers work in elections, “boots on the ground,” the 1.6 million AFT members, living in every school district in the nation are a powerful political force.

A crucial election in November and the convention will begin the mobilization of AFT members.

I’ll be at the convention and hope to blog a few times to keep you in the loop.

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