Hartford Public Schools

Demanding a Voice in Reopening Safely

Members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated local unions have for the past four weeks taken center stage in the debate over fall "back to school" plans. Teachers and education personnel have repeatedly called for prioritizing students and staff health in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Efforts culminated this week in public actions organized with labor allies demanding state officials put safety first. 
 
Click here to sign and share our board of education (BOE) union coalition's petition.
 

Educators Take to the Streets in Coordinated "Safety First" Car Caravan Rallies

From Stamford to Stonington, Hamden to Hartford, and more than two dozen towns in between, teachers, education personnel, students, parents and advocates today joined school "Safety First" car caravans. The purpose was to demand safety and health precautions — and much-needed funding — in Connecticut public school building reopening plans. 
 
Click here for video coverage of several actions.
 

Ensuring a Role for School Support Staff in Distance Learning

Education personnel across Connecticut faced an uncertain future when in mid March their buildings were closed to slow the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). By exercising negotiating rights and tapping political strength, union leaders were able to keep members engaged in remote distance learning — and earning their paychecks. Their action assured the school year isn’t lost for countless schoolchildren and protected the primary source of income for thousands of working families.
 

Remaining Vigilant to "Open Doors for More Families"

Hartford families and education advocates earlier this month reached a settlement with local and state officials in the 30-year-old Sheff v. O'Neill, et al. desegregation lawsuit. While the agreement adds more than 1,000 new magnet slots in the region, it comes up short on resolving racial isolation in the Capitol City's traditional neighborhood schools. Following news of the resolution, civil rights activists and union leaders warned against complacency in the fight for equity for students struggling with poverty.
 

Building the Foundation for a Better Future

The polls are closed, the votes are in and Connecticut’s political landscape through 2020 is clear. Thanks to the collective efforts of the labor movement, candidates won on Tuesday who ran as problem solvers and champions for working people. Members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated unions played a decisive role in the outcome, helping propel 73 percent of those we backed in the General Election ballot to victory.
 
Click here for the results of our endorsed candidates' races.
 

Promoting Professional Learning that Empowers Growth

The strength of our unions comes not from contracts or bylaws, but from the diversity and collective capacity of the nearly 30,000 women and men we represent. Our state federation's professional development (PD) program relies on both in order to offer a wide-ranging series of career advancement and labor leadership opportunities. Members of three divisions recently were asked to provide input and feedback for future course offerings as both new and previously presented workshops are scheduled in the coming weeks.
 

Responding to Attacks on "Our Rights and Freedoms"

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday issued its long-anticipated ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 lawsuit — one that favors billionaires out to destroy America's labor movement. The 5-4 decision overturned a four decades-old precedent and has long been the goal of a shadowy network of deep-pocketed political operatives. Here in Connecticut, union members gathered in Hartford to denounce this judicial attack on their freedom to negotiate a fair return on their work.
 

"U & I in Union:" Winning Labor Peace in the Workplace

The lion's share of analysis of current corporate-backed attempts to undermine collective bargaining rights have focused on their impact on employees' wages, health and retirement benefits. Yet, the ability to negotiate better working conditions often proves as valuable as regular raises or affordable medical coverage. In another example of the "union difference," we're sharing the story of how contract language for resolving conflicts provided recourse for a paraprofessional facing a hostile workplace.
 

Urging Business Leaders to "Take the High Road" to Achieve Growth

Leaders of Connecticut’s labor movement last week took a strong stand against attacks on working people in a wide-ranging presentation to the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. Together, they advocated an approach that invests in public services and structures, makes Connecticut's tax structure fairer, and provides workers with the security and purchasing power needed for sustainable growth.
 
Click here for the labor panel's full slideshow presentation.
 

Demonstrating Solidarity in Professional Development

Among the many benefits enjoyed by members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated unions is the opportunity to participate in career-relevant training, specialized education and advanced professional learning courses. Our state federation has in recent years increased the variety of topics, boosted the frequency of sessions, and expanded access to all of our diverse constituencies. To that end, leaders with distinct knowledge and unique skill sets have been tapped to serve as presenters for an increasing number of workshops.
 
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