Stand up and be counted as a voice for high quality public education and public services!More
AFT President Randi Weingarten told Senate lawmakers that the Every Student Succeeds Act enacted by Congress in December "gives us the opportunity for the reset needed to move from a test-and-sanction environment to one of support and improvement " in public schools, but that "states will need time to get it done and get it right."
The February 2016 issue of The Union Voice, AFT-Wisconsin's newsletter, is now available. This issue focuses on actions our members are taking across Wisconsin to protect high-quality public education, effective public services, and clean government in Wisconsin. You can read individual articles below, or download the entire issue as a PDF file.
Public school support staff perform work that keeps their schools running, work that is essential to the educational mission of Wisconsin’s public school system. Unfortunately, this work is too often undervalued by school district administrations, who frequently ignore pressing issues that make it hard to recruit and retain the best school staff. So, after five years of pay freezes, reduced take-home pay, and declining benefits, members of AFT local 4018, the Eau Claire Schools Classified Staff Federation, decided they’d had enough, and made plans to take their issues directly to the school board.
The first version of the employee handbook for the Ashland school district was created with extensive input from members of the Ashland Federation of Teachers (AFT local 1275) and the Ashland Federation of Paraprofessionals (AFT local 4232), with representatives of each union sitting on a handbook committee with the administration. However, the following year, union members were surprised to see substantial changes made without any opportunity for employee input. Members of both locals met to discuss the issue, and decided to organize their coworkers and take the issue to the next district school board meeting, where they would petition the board to re-form the handbook committee as a permanent working group.
When Wisconsin Republicans introduced legislation to remove key components of the civil service system, members of AFT-Wisconsin state employee unions quickly mobilized alongside other supporters of clean government, forming the Wisconsin Coalition to Save Civil Service. Alongside their AFSCME union sisters and brothers, AFT-Wisconsin activists organized building meetings to spread the word about the importance of civil service to clean government and effective state agencies.
AFT-Wisconsin is proud to announce that it has endorsed Russ Feingold in his campaign for the US Senate. President Kim Kohlhaas sent the following letter to Mr. Feingold to announce the endorsement:
Dear Mr. Feingold,
It is with great pleasure that I, on behalf of the AFT-Wisconsin Executive Board and our thousands of members across the state of Wisconsin, offer our full support to your campaign and endorse you in your bid for the US Senate.