AFT 61st Annual Convention

Al Shanker hits on a few major topics in this speech. He begins by talking about the success AFT and the labor movement had in organizing to help Jimmy Carter win the presidency. He mentions the meetings he has had with the new administration that give him hope for funding and enforcement of educational issues and laws like the 1973 Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) and Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 which deals with improving the academic achievement of the disadvantaged. Next Shanker discusses labor law reform and the need for AFT to support it and recognize that good labor law is beneficial to teachers and to education. Next, Shanker states that the organization formed during the presidential campaign to advocate for Carter and Mondale will remain as a legislative affairs group to continue to advocate for education and labor issues. Shanker moves on to discuss international affairs and the various international organizations like UNESCO and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in which he and the labor movement participate. He argues that advocating for human rights internationally and broadly is the duty and in the interest of the AFT. Next Shanker discusses the need to increase union dues and hopes members will do so willingly once they realize all the benefits they gain from union membership. He also mentions that the convention will see an effort to amend the AFT Constitution to allow for organizing workers additional to teachers, paraprofessionals, and higher education workers, such as a group of lawyers who work for the Wisconsin Department of Education. Next, Shanker spends some time discussing the NEA and the differences between the two organizations and advocating for their merger. Finally he talks about the positive role the NYSUT played in helping New York City correct its budget crisis. Shanker urges the audience that the AFT must take a comprehensive and holistic approach to its activities because its many interests are all intertwined despite seeming to belong to disparate areas.

Boston, MA
36 pages
Attachment(click to download)
63.25.pdf63.25.pdf1.03 MB