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"U & I in Union:" Organizing the Strength to "Survive"

Connecticut’s public education workforce in this present era of persistent austerity budget policies has become accustomed to a certain degree of employment instability. In response, the labor movement has in recent years increased our collective focus on protecting jobs that were once considered resilient to economic downturns. In this latest example of the "union difference," we’re sharing the story of school support personnel mobilizing to defend against a massive wave of layoffs in their district.
 

Demanding Responsible School Safety Solutions, Not More Guns

State Senator Michael McLachlan last week outraged educators when he embraced President Donald Trump’s proposal to militarize the nation's schools. At a forum hosted by the Northern Fairfield County Association of REALTORS in Danbury, the incumbent Deputy Minority Leader answered "yes" when asked if he supports requiring firearms for teachers. His position has angered union members in McLachlan's district, which includes Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, and Sherman, and across Connecticut, who expect their elected officials to make better policy choices.
 

Comments on State GOP's "Shameful and Hypocritical" Public School Political Rally

Jan Hochadel, president of AFT Connecticut, made the following remarks regarding the Connecticut Republican Party's announced rally for political candidates tomorrow at Pomperaug Regional High School in Southbury:
 

Expanding Our Power in Numbers

More than 100 professionals in Connecticut's Judicial Branch last week secured voluntary recognition of their free choice to unite with their colleagues for a voice on the job. Their victory was the fifth over the past year to expand collective bargaining rights to employees in the state's court system. To date, nearly 200 have become new members of our AFT Connecticut-affiliated Judicial Professionals (JPE) union, demonstrating the labor movement's capacity to rebound through organizing.
 
Click here for the recognition agreement with the branch.
 

"U & I in Union:" Beating the Same Forces "Coming After Us"

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail wrote that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The civil rights leader's statement on the value of solidarity remains true today, especially for immigrant communities. We're sharing an example of a higher education professional engaging union members in direct action to win justice for a student's family threatened with being torn apart by deportation.
 

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.
 

Winning Power for Working People at the Ballot Box

The Labor Day holiday weekend traditionally marks the beginning of the "political season" when most voters begin to pay attention to the choices in early November's General Election. Dozens of activists in AFT Connecticut-affiliated unions have been engaged in the process as far back as last winter. Their efforts have built a foundation that is providing momentum for the final phase of our member-powered political program for 2018, which is now underway.
 

"U & I in Union:" Helping Members "Get Through a Tragedy"

The labor movement's founding principle of mutual assistance provides working people both a sense of obligation and source of consolation. That is particularly the case following episodes of workplace violence, when values like support, solidarity and resilience are needed most. We're bringing attention to a PreK-12 teacher who has stepped forward to comfort educators impacted by gun violence and amplified her voice to prevent future senseless tragedies.
 

Providing "Proven Strategies for Building Power"

Building on successful volunteer-based initiatives spanning the past three years, AFT Connecticut will this fall launch the next generation of its Member Organizer Institute (MOI) program. The effort, jointly funded by our national union, state federation and local affiliates, seeks to build greater participation by offering compensation to our most valuable resource — active members. The application period is now open, and leaders are seeking potential candidates for a paid cohort to begin training in late September.
 
Click here for a fact sheet on the MOI program.
 

Empowering Members "to Speak Out and Win"

Collective bargaining agreements reached over the past six weeks with multiple employers for thousands of working people represented by AFT Connecticut-affiliated local unions share much in common. The individual contracts certainly included gains designed to meet the needs of the union members who ratified them. Each was also the product of collective efforts demonstrating that the "U and I in Union" is how to achieve that which cannot be accomplished alone.
 
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