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UFAS Steering Committee Affirms the Black Lives Matter Protests

The Steering Committee of United Faculty and Academic Staff (AFT #223), in solidarity with activists and other labor unions across the country, stands in outrage and grief at the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. They are the most recent in a long string of such murders of Black people by the police. This includes the murder of 19-year old Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. on the near Eastside of Madison on March 6, 2015. His killer, Matthew Kenny, is still an officer with the Madison Police Department.

AFT members dive into candidate endorsement process

As the presidential elections inch closer and the field of candidates gets more and more competitive, AFT members are engaging, parsing campaign platforms, asking questions of the candidates, and voicing their priorities as educators, healthcare practitioners and public employees. Thus far, the AFT has hosted eight AFT Votes town halls in eight different locations across the country, giving members the opportunity to meet candidates in person and hear about their stands on education, working families, healthcare and other top-line issues. Also part of the AFT’s robust endorsement process: surveys, debate parties and lots of information on AFTVotes.org.

Best economy ever?

In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest column in the New York Times, she writes that, despite President Trump’s claims that we have the “best economy ever,” his policies are harming working and middle-class Americans, many of whom are struggling just to get by. “Our political and economic systems are so weighted toward the wealthy that opportunity will only come through the power of collective action,” she writes, using “the surest vehicles to increase opportunity for ordinary Americans”—public education, labor unions and voting. Read the full column.

Four UFAS members elected to public office in April 2019

The big news from the spring election on April 2, 2019, is that Madison has a new mayor: our colleague and fellow UFAS member Satya Rhodes-Conway was elected with 62% of the vote! The membership of our union voted to endorse Satya for mayor, and we are proud of her success. Congratulations to Satya!

Satya’s election was not the only good news on election night. Three other members of our union whom our members endorsed were also elected to public office last week:

AFT launches massive national campaign to fund public education

The AFT’s long-time advocacy for public schools has just been turbo-charged, with a sweeping, multi-pronged campaign to fund the future of American public education. Amid the continuing wave of teacher activism shining a spotlight on massive shortfalls in education investment, the Fund Our Future initiative aims to take the teachers’ megaphone into Congress, statehouses and communities nationwide.

UFAS makes political endorsements in Madison Spring 2019 elections

March 12, 2019 — At the UFAS general membership meeting on March 11, UFAS members voted to endorse the following eleven political candidates in the Madison spring election scheduled for April 2, 2019. Five of these candidates (indicated in boldface) are UFAS members in good standing. We are thrilled to have so many members of our own union running for office this spring!

For Madison mayorSatya Rhodes-Conway

For Madison City Council:

UFAS stands in solidarity with striking faculty at Wright State University

February 7, 2019 — UFAS members voted unanimously today to pass a resolution of support for striking faculty at Wright State University and to donate $200 to their strike fund.

The UFAS Steering Committee had previously sent a letter, dated January 28, 2019, to the president and Board of Trustees at Wright State University calling for a fair contract for striking faculty there.

The membership resolution reads:

The members of United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS), American Federation of Teachers Local 223, send solidarity greetings from Madison, Wisconsin. We endorse the letter from the UFAS Steering Committee, dated January 28, 2019, to WSU president Cheryl Schrader and the institution’s Board of Trustees. We fully support your demand for a fair contract that protects faculty working conditions and student learning conditions, which are one and the same.

Cutting the heart out of higher ed

Betsy DeVos wants to alter the DNA of higher education, trying to change the definition of the credit hour, eliminate student-faculty interaction in some programs and allow schools losing their accreditation to charge students tuition. And it’s all disguised in the wonky and overwhelming “negotiated rulemaking” review process that begins Jan. 15.