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Making Gains through the "Power of Solidarity"

On any given day of the year, leaders of one or more of AFT Connecticut’s 90 plus affiliates are exercising their fundamental collective bargaining rights. Whether negotiating contract terms or representing colleagues in a dispute with their employer, they're "at the table" to win better wages, benefits and working conditions. We're highlighting recent examples from the past three months demonstrating what the power of the "U and I in Union" can accomplish.
 

"U & I in Union:" Electing Our Own Advocates

Our members' jobs, whether in public education, healthcare, higher education or state service, are heavily impacted by policy decisions made at the local, state and federal levels. That’s why electing those who will stand up for working people has long been a high priority for AFT Connecticut. We're sharing the story of one such success in backing a retired teacher and lifelong education advocate as yet another example of the "union difference" in our lives.
 

Helping Fellow Members "Improve their Practice"

As a democratic labor organization, AFT Connecticut adheres to the principle of local unions governed "of members, by members and for members." These values are evident in our professional development (PD) program, which relies less on big name experts and more on trusted colleagues to teach valuable career advancement and labor leadership skills. It is in this cooperative atmosphere that members can share their passion and expertise with each other.
 

Backing a Governor to Confront the Special Interests

Delegates to AFT Connecticut’s annual business convention on Saturday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution to formally endorse Ned Lamont's candidacy in the 2018 gubernatorial election. The action follows months of preparations and preliminary mobilization that began last fall with the development of our state federation's strategic plan. The resolution sets in motion the critical volunteer recruitment phase in which union members will be tapped to fuel our grassroots "labor is your neighbor" program.
 

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.
 

"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.
 

Fighting for the Free, Fair Choice to Organize in the Workplace

Following years of advocacy, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in 2014 adopted rules to streamline union elections for working people in the private sector. The reform now faces significant risk from the Trump Administration's appointees to the federal agency overseeing the nation's employment laws. In response, the labor movement in Connecticut is escalating efforts to assure a harassment-free process for workers seeking a stronger voice on the job.
 

Winning Long-Overdue Respect for State Employees

Union members late last month celebrated the announcement of an immediate end to the terms "essential" and "nonessential" in public references to the state workforce. The news followed the labor movement's coordinated efforts to resist language that had for years devalued thousands of working women and men across Connecticut. More than symbolism, the executive order replacing the antiquated terminology demonstrates the true strength of the 'U' and 'I' in 'union' at a critical time for all public employees.
 

"U & I in Union:" Putting Collective Action Theory into Practice

Sharing personal stories that demonstrate union members' collective strength can be an effective tool in mobilizing a strong defense of hard-won rights and fundamental freedoms. In the face of escalating attacks by special interests seeking to sow discord and division among working people, they take on added urgency. To that end, we're lifting up examples like this story of how the "union difference" prevented an economic disaster for a veteran public employee's family.
 

Helping Members Beat Back Student Debt

Across the country last year, staff and leaders from our national union held scores of clinics to guide thousands of members toward relief from the weight of their student loans. AFT Connecticut at the same time organized training sessions to help affiliated locals offer the workshops themselves, exponentially increasing the number of those that can benefit. Soaring student debt may seem like old news, but for current and former students locked in its grip, it feels relentlessly fresh and relevant.
 
Click here for our previous report on the clinics' launch.
 
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