Newtown Federation of Teachers

Lifting Up Labor Leaders and Helping Students Soar

More than 100 delegates representing members of AFT Connecticut's affiliated local unions came together in-person for the first time since 2019 for our state federation’s convention. Capping the June 4 event was a luncheon where labor activists who over the previous 12 months lived up to the event's theme of "better days ahead" were recognized. Annual scholarships aimed at helping members and their families beat the rising cost of higher education were also announced.
 

Sending Hope and Taking Action on Gun Violence

Members of our AFT Connecticut-affiliated local unions representing educators and support staff in Newtown Public Schools relive the Sandy Hook massacre with each school shooting headline. Yesterday's incident in Texas closely mirrors their own horror, in which six of their colleagues and 20 of their students were in December, 2012 slain. Trent Harrison, a science educator at the town's high school and president of our Newtown Federation of Teachers, captured his colleagues' emotions in an open letter to the nation:
 

Making Gains "That Weren't Given to Us"

Gallup last year reported that Americans' approval of labor unions in 2019 continued its decade-long upward trend. A clear driver is the pay differential; wages and salaries average 10 to 30 percent higher for workers able to exercise collective bargaining rights to secure employment contracts. We’re spotlighting two recent examples that show how this "union difference" works at the negotiating table for new and veteran members alike. 
 

"Looking Ahead to 2020" for Funding Our Future

State federation leaders last month teamed up with the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and WFSB-TV Channel 3 for a survey of certified educators on the issues facing their profession. The first-of-its-kind effort engaged over a thousand union members from scores of local and regional school districts. To further expand public awareness, delegates to AFT Connecticut’s PreK-12 Council are gearing up for a second survey scheduled later this winter.
 

Comments on the State Auditors' Review of the Sandy Hook Workers Aid Fund

State and local AFT leaders today made the following public remarks in response to the Auditors of Public Accounts' (APA) December 4 letter regarding the Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Program (SHWAP):
 

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.
 

"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.
 

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.
 

Fifth Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Tragedy

The Newtown community is this week honoring the 26 children and educators who lost their lives on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In a first official local commemoration since the tragedy, a photo display paying tribute to each of the victims has been installed at the town's municipal center. Leaders of our affiliated union representing the district's teachers yesterday gathered to observe the exhibit and remember their brave colleagues who five years ago today died protecting their students.
 
Click here for press coverage of the photo display.
 

Educators Respond to Growing Stress on the Job

A survey of nearly 5,000 public school educators released last month by our national union found rates of anxiety to be twice those of working people in other professions. Most respondents said they face disrespect by local, state and federal policymakers and elected officials. By contrast, educators in school districts that foster collaboration reported lower stress levels and higher retention rates. The results mirror those of a survey of AFT Connecticut-affiliated union members conducted earlier this summer.
 
Click here for a full report on the national survey's results.
 
Syndicate content