Civil Rights

Joining the Call for a "Moral Revival" in Connecticut

Members of affiliated unions have for years engaged in grassroots community and faith-based efforts to tackle discrimination, poverty and inequality where they work and live. Several local social justice organizations allied with AFT Connecticut have begun coordinating state activities in the "Poor People's Campaign (PPC): A National Call for Moral Revival." State federation leaders last month took steps to be part of this movement, rooted in the unfinished work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 

Mobilizing to "Protect Our Freedom to Negotiate"

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments in a corporate-funded lawsuit aimed directly at public employees across the country. That afternoon in Connecticut, union members gathered at simultaneous demonstrations to show the case's backers that working people aren’t backing down. All this took place as our state federation's leaders moved forward a plan to build greater strength for the future, regardless of the high court's ruling.
 

Fighting Forward in 2018

The planning process for any group can seem a bit like sausage-making. Without a roadmap, however, it is impossible to move forward when faced with escalating challenges on multiple fronts, from Hartford to Washington and in local communities across Connecticut. That's precisely why state federation leaders last summer embarked on a comprehensive effort to develop a strategic plan to build a more active and engaged "union of professionals" in 2018.
 

Organizing to Defend Against a "Heartless Assault"

President Trump's decision last week to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program puts approximately 850,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children at risk. Many are public school educators, support staff, college instructors and faculty — as well as their students — right here in Connecticut. Our national union has teamed up with advocates to both fight back on their behalf and provide answers to their many questions about the impacts of this radical policy change.
 

Achieving Educator Diversity with a 'Grow Your Own' Vision

Leaders in education, labor and civil rights this past spring packed the AFL-CIO's Washington, D.C. headquarters for a second annual teacher diversity and social justice summit. Our national union once again co-sponsored the event, which featured a series of presentations showcasing effective "home-grown" methods for addressing a growing educator shortage. Connecticut labor and community leaders were among the participants, and they've brought back strategies for identifying, preparing and retaining teachers of color from the communities where they work.
 

Protecting Immigrant Students, Educators and Caregivers

In classrooms and on campuses across the nation, undocumented youth, from preschoolers to college students, are terrified. Young people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status as well as visa-contingent educators and healthcare professionals fear that changing policies could jeopardize their safety. In an increasingly  hostile political climate, national, state and local union leaders have stepped up to defend communities, demand fairness and corral resources to help.
 
Click here for our national union's resources for immigrant communities.
 

Spotlight: Teaching & Protecting Civil Rights

For the month in which the nation observes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, we're spotlighting union members whose work carries on the social justice leader's legacy. Here in Connecticut, attorneys in the state's civil and human rights enforcement agency strive to confront ongoing discrimination faced by residents. At the same time, local public schools' educators teach their students the history of the movement that Dr. King led — and its relevance to struggles for justice and equality today.
 

Labor History Lesson: The Grape Boycott

Through building strong partnerships with the community and practicing non-violent civil disobedience, Cesar Chávez organized immigrant agricultural workers to win hard-fought dignity and respect from their employers. In a recent recent column for his local union's newsletter, AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy takes us back to 1970 for the lessons of the Delano grape boycott:
 

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:"
 

"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.
 
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