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A Supreme Court Vacancy: No Time to Rest Easy

The news of Justice Antonin Scalia's sudden passing on Saturday has raised important questions about cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The unjust Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA) lawsuit no longer appears headed to a likely defeat for our unions and the wider labor movement in America. Still, some legal experts are predicting it to be re-argued once the vacancy on the high court is filled.
 
Click here for the latest update from a high court analyst.
 

AFT President to Tour MLK Jr. Elementary School, Hold Media Briefing

Washington - American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten will tour Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School on Thursday and hold a media availability after the visit. Joining her will be Hartford Federation of Teachers President Andrea Johnson, Hartford Federation of Paraprofessionals Co-Presidents Shellye Davis and Jackie Aviles and Connecticut Department of Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell.
 

Reaction to Governor Malloy's Proposed Public Service Cuts

Leaders of unions in the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) made the following remarks today in response to state budget proposals released by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy:
 

Spotlight: Members as Mentors

Educators and support staff in PreK-12 classrooms and community college lecture halls work hard to assure positive outcomes for the young people they teach, instruct and help guide. For many of our union members, they see their responsibility to do more than simply educate; they are "mentors," too. As the month set aside to recognize the value of mentoring comes to a close, we're spotlighting members who fulfill this vital role both on and off the job.
 
Click here for President Obama's official 2016 National Mentoring Month proclamation.
 

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:"
 

Talking Teacher Tenure

The issue of due process for PreK-12 teachers last week ignited a spirited exchange during a “Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education” panel discussion at the Albert Shanker Institute. "Teacher Tenure: An Outmoded 'Job For Life' or Essential Right to Due Process?" was the topic when some of education's major thought leaders gathered at AFT national union headquarters. The January 13 discussion was also live-streamed online to a national audience.
 
Click here to watch the full forum.
 

A New Years' Message to Our Members

As we enter 2016, I find myself looking for positives in the labor movement and it's easy to become discouraged. I hear politicians and big corporations blaming the poor, people of color and immigrants for the disappearance of the middle class and worsening income inequality. The real issues we face are obscured by political sideshow.
 

Our Right to Work Together Under Assault

With the U.S. Supreme Court set Monday to hear oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA), efforts are underway to expose the case's threats to all working people. Union members on Wednesday attempted to deliver more than 100,000 petition signatures to the Washington, D.C. headquarters of Center for Individual Rights (CIR), one of the special interests behind the lawsuit.
 
Click here for a brief video of the petition delivery.
 

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.
 
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