John McDonald, Eric Rader and Jeff Morford attended the AFT Convention July 18 to July 21. This convention also served as recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the the American Federation of Teachers.
One highlight was the speech by 98-year-old Beatrice Lumpkin (Author Joy of the Struggle) who has been an AFT member for 83 years (yes, she started at age 15). “Congrats AFT…you’re 100 years-old and I’m only two years younger! But, I plan to catch up!”It was wonderful to hear about early efforts to organize and to see that one can still have sharp faculties and the ability to support brothers and sisters in the union movement that late in life.
Hillary Clinton addressed the convention on Monday. She promised teachers, and the AFT in particular, a seat at the table when she is elected the 45th president. She also re-iterated her plan to make public college tuition free for low and middle income families. She plans to forgive students loans for those who enter public service including teaching. For these reasons and many others the AFT endorsed Hillary Clinton in the general election during our Tuesday session.
Internally to the AFT, John McDonald was re-elected as an AFT vice-president. Randi Weingarten will serve another 2 years as president of the AFT. Dr. Lorretta Johnson will serve another two years as Secretary -Treasurer.
Among the many resolutions brought to the body at least two had special importance for HFC faculty. The resolution suggesting changes to accrediting bodies like the Higher Learning Commission is headed to the Executive Council of the AFT. It is expected that they will support the resolution. One of the most important parts of this resolution calls for equal faculty representation on accrediting body visiting teams.
A resolution calling for an end to Islamophobia, especially in regards to immigration, received unanimous approval from the floor of the convention. 1650 members received an email copy of a draft of this resolution from John earlier in the year. We hope to get video of John’s passionate speech in favor of this resolution from the AFT soon.