In challenging times unions must draw on the strength of their membership to build better futures. That’s the message of this year’s AFT Convention in Seattle, WA, where Jim Hoyt, Mike Anzelone and I are representing the NCCFT.
This morning we heard Randi Weingarten, President of the AFT, say that our national union is now 1.5 million members strong. Some of the newest additions include locals representing charter school faculty and proprietary school faculty. This is important given the difficulties facing academic labor organizations today.
The AFT video code isn’t embedding properly but here are links to a few videos you might want to check out:
You can find the other videos from the convention here: http://www.aft.org/convention/video.cfm
In yesterday’s Higher Education Division meetings we discussed the staffing crisis in colleges around the country. Increased exploitation of contingent faculty, those whose jobs are precarious and who are not guaranteed due process or job security (and thus who do not have full academic freedom) is undermining the integrity of our colleges and universities. We also discussed budget crises around the country and Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress at CUNY, received much applause for pointing out that we cannot give in to attempts to “impose austerity” on the public sector. While shared sacrifice is essential to economic recovery, the current sacrifices reflect taxation and spending priorities that do not reflect the needs of the nation.
Another theme throughout the convention has been student success: how to maximize it, how to measure it, and how it should factor in to evaluation of faculty, administrations and institutions. AFT has created a web site – http://whatshouldcount.org – to solicit insight from members about how to best address the need for meaningful and shared accountability to the communities we serve.
Please check out the AFT Convention page for more information. You can find it at http://www.aft.org/convention/ – there you’ll find videos, documents, and links to AFT initiatives.
You can also follow the convention on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AFTconvention
I’ll post more as I can!