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The American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through the work our members do.

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Crowds of Spanish-speaking parishioners in Los Angeles milled about the historic Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles Catholic Church grounds Jan. 7, browsing through free children’s books—both bilingual and in Spanish—and enjoying colorful slices of Rosca de Reyes—the traditional crown-shaped cake marking the Christian celebration of the three kings visiting infant Jesus.


More than 1,300 healthcare workers from PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Wash., and PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview, Wash., walked off the job and onto a picket line on Oct. 23. The workers will be on strike for five days. Respiratory therapists, radiology techs and maintenance workers in PeaceHealth’s Tech, Service and Maintenance, and Lab Professional bargaining units are members of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, Local 5017. They are demanding improved patient staffing, living wages and a fair contract.

Students in lab

In Lynn, Mass., a high school girl wearing safety goggles shapes and solders copper plumbing pipes. A boy in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., manipulates gear cogs on a computer screen to engineer a competition robot. And in Newark, N.J., a teenager steps into an elementary school classroom—as teacher for the day.


What unions do


In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest New York Times  column, she describes what it is exactly that unions do. Though unions are the most popular they have been in decades, anti-union sentiment still thrives in red states and across the nation. “Several years ago, The Atlantic ran a story whose headline made even me, a labor leader, scratch my head: ‘Union Membership: Very Sexy,’” Weingarten writes in the column. “The gist was that higher wages, health benefits and job security—all associated with union membership—boost one’s chances of getting married. Belonging to a union doesn’t actually guarantee happily ever after, but it does help working people have a better life in the here and now.” Click through to read the full column.

Celebrating student loan relief


“It was like waking up and learning you won the lottery.” That’s just one of the comments flooding the AFT offices from members who are elated to be free of student debt at last. After relentless advocacy, including an AFT lawsuit against former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that was so broken is finally doing what it is supposed to do: delivering relief from student debt for thousands of borrowers. So far, $6.2 billion in student debt has been forgiven for 100,000 public service workers like teachers, nurses and professors. Read the full article.