As the school year began, members of the Whitnall Area Federation of Teachers were discussing two disturbing trends. Class sizes had started high and were continuing to grow as the district accepted many open enrollment students. At the same time, many experienced teachers were either finding jobs elsewhere or considering leaving because of the district’s extremely slow progress in implementing a compensation plan. With many classes exceeding 30 students and as they faced the loss of highly qualified teachers, WAFT members were concerned about the impact on their working conditions and student learning conditions.
Kathy Evert, a fourth grade teacher at Mazomanie Elementary in the Wisconsin Heights School District, is one of a group of teachers from around the country invited to the White House for President Barack Obama’s celebration of Teacher Appreciation Day on Tuesday, May 3. At the event, according to the White House, President Obama will recognize the National Teacher of the Year as well as other outstanding educators from across America.
Following the introduction of a UW-Madison faculty senate resolution of no confidence in UW System President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents, faculty around the UW System were vocal in their call for accountability at the top of the System.
Union members understand the value of community. One of the most fundamental reasons people join and participate in unions is because they know that whether it's at work, at home, or in our communities, we are all stronger - and happier - when we work together to make our lives better. The members of AFT local 3497, the McFarland Federation of Teachers, put those values into action on March 17 by helping to provide a meal to McFarland residents through Shared Table.
Shared Table is a McFarland nonprofit organization that facilitates 50 community meals each year, open to all members of the
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.
The values of your campaign reflect the values of the members of AFT-Wisconsin and the values of working Wisconsinites. We share your commitment to high
Faculty, staff, graduate employees, and students from across the University of Wisconsin System gathered on Friday, February 5, to rally in defense of tenure, quality education, and academic freedom before the Board of Regents gathered to review draft policies on faculty tenure. These policies, which have drawn concern from AFT-Wisconsin and AAUP higher education leaders, have the potential to undermine basic principles of academic freedom that allow faculty to teach and perform research in pursuit of truth, free from political interference.
As members of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents gathered to consider new tenure policies for the UW System, AFT-Wisconsin and the American Association of University Professors issued the following joint statement (PDF):
Since 2011, the governor and the legislature of the state of Wisconsin have been engaged in an attack on the University of Wisconsin System as a public good that exists for the benefit of all citizens of the state. This vision of higher education has shaped the UW System since the formulation of the Wisconsin Idea in 1904. The attack began with the assault on
AFT-Wisconsin has a long tradition of offering educational scholarships to support dependents of members in good standing who wish to pursue a career in labor, education, health care or government service. Currently, AFT-Wisconsin offers one $1,000 university scholarship and one $500 technical college scholarship. The application period for 2015-2016 scholarships is now open; applications are due to AFT-Wisconsin by March 15, 2016, and winners will be notified by May 1, 2016. Please note: Letters of recommendation addressed to entities other than AFT-Wisconsin will not be considered.