State Vocational Federation of Teachers

Labor History Lesson: The Fight for Free Speech

AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy opened a recent column in his local union's "Vocational Instructor" newsletter saying, "the study of labor history is an exercise in finding hope." He found some much-needed hope in the story of the Spokane "Free Speech" movement, an "example of how people refused to let a corrupt system beat them:"
 

Labor History Lesson: No Mercy for Injured Workers

Laws to compensate working people hurt while on the job have existed since 1908 when first passed in Wisconsin, where today anti-worker politicians are aggressively rolling them back. AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy shared some little known labor history that illustrates the limits of an employer's mercy for injured workers in a recent "Vocational Instructor" column:
 

"From My Classroom to My Colleague:" Improving Teacher Retention

The challenge of retaining highly qualified teachers for public schools in high-poverty neighborhoods is having a detrimental impact on the "opportunity to learn" for children across the country. That's among the significant findings of a report on the so-called "diversity gap" between educators and their students by the Albert Shanker Institute. In Connecticut, union members, who on a daily basis see the effects of teacher turnover in distressed local communities, are discussing its implications and proposing possible solutions.
 
Click here for the report.
 

Labor History Lesson: The Alberta Nurses' Strike

Dr. Martin Luther King famously said in 1965 during the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Time and again working people have demonstrated this to be true by engaging in struggle today for progress won tomorrow. AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy shared the story of a victory by Canadian health professionals 27 years in the making in his October "Vocational Instructor" labor history column:
 

Teachers, Nurses, and Public Service Professionals Back Tina Manus for Stratford Town Council

Rocky Hill - Citing her commitment to working families' issues, members of the nearly 30,000-strong AFT Connecticut are supporting Tina Manus to serve as the District 10 representative on Stratford's town council. The labor federation's executive committee voted to add Manus to its slate of endorsed municipal candidates for the November 3 General Election, and earlier this month informed active and retired members of its affiliated local unions.
 

"Green Cleaning" for Safer Schools

The state's environmental protection and public health agencies have teamed-up to create a tool to help educators reduce their students' exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxins in our schools. A new video campaign, "Wastebusters," was last month launched to debunk green cleaning "myths" and help teachers, school support staff, administrators, and parents avoid using hazardous cleaners, sanitizers or disinfectants.
 
Click here for the first "Wastebusters" video.
 

Empowering Students to Learn the Lessons of Labor History

Public education, workers' rights and senior advocates yesterday joined the governor for the ceremonial signing of legislation to assist local school districts with teaching the history of the labor movement. The bill, which both chambers of the General Assembly passed in May with bipartisan support, was the culmination of years of grassroots advocacy by AFT Connecticut, union activists and legislators.
 
Click here for press coverage of the bill's final passage.
 

New Leadership to Carry On "Solution Driven Unionism"

Rocky Hill - New officers chosen to serve AFT Connecticut through 2017 have taken office and recommitted the statewide labor organization's ongoing community engagement, worker organizing, collective bargaining and political activism efforts. Delegates representing affiliated local unions in May elected the federation's president, executive vice president, first vice president, secretary/treasurer and 22 vice presidents for two-year terms effective today.
 

Labor History Lesson: The Abood Decision

Most of the gains that organized labor has made are due to courageous and principled stands by working men and women. In his latest "Vocational Instructor" labor history column, AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy acknowledges the important role that the courts have also played in shaping our rights:
 
 

Labor History Lesson: Coxey's Army

The first "march on Washington" is the subject of AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy's latest "Vocational Instructor" labor labor history column. He details events that took place a full seven decades before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech -- and which still resonate today.
 
The words the march's leader planned to deliver -- "the rich have been growing richer, the poor poorer, and that by the close of the present century the middle class will have disappeared" -- ring true 121 years later:
 
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