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About Us

About AFT Washington

AFT Washington is a state federation affiliated with the 1.6 million American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. We represent about 6,500 members including faculty from community and technical colleges and pre-K through 12 classified employees. We also jointly represent professors at Eastern, Central, and Western Washington universities and The Evergreen College with the Washington Education Association.

Our Mission

The mission of AFT Washington is to voice the ideals of our locals and members for workplace fairness and social justice while strengthening and focusing their collective power to attain those ideals.

Our Vision

The vision of AFT Washington is a just society with access for all to unions, education, health care, and social programs that provide equal opportunity. To that end, we will encourage and provide resources for potential members to become members, members to become activists, and activists to become leaders, growing the union, its scope, and its depth, so that our members see the power of the union, are drawn to it, and realize that the power comes from them, their commitment and involvement.

Our Values

AFT Washington values transformational unionism that includes: 

  • Strength through solidarity
  • Unity among diverse members
  • Action toward our goals
  • Democracy in our locals
  • Quality programs for students
  • Fairness for members

AFT Washington Committees

Listed below are the AFT Washington Committees and their chairs and staff liaisons as of 7/20/23. Please contact us if you would like more information or to participate in their work.

Audit Committee
Somma Rath, AFT Washington Staff

Budget Committee
Vacant, Chair, AFT Washington Treasurer
Somma Rath, AFT Washington Staff

Contingent Faculty Issues Committee
Jacqui Cain, Chair, VP for Contingent Faculty Issues 
Enrie Marusya, AFT Washington Staff

COPE Committee
Travis Margoni, Chair, AFT Washington VP of COPE
Anna-Marie Magdalena, AFT Washington Staff

Human Rights Committee
Tomas Ramos, Chair, AFT Washington VP for Human Rights
Ray Carrillo, AFT Washington Staff

Legal Defense Committee
Scott Haddock, AFT Washington VP for Legal Defense

Legislative Affairs Committee
Jaeney Hoene, Chair, AFT Washington VP for Legislative Affairs 
Karen Strickland, AFT Washington President

Retiree Chapter
Merrilee Miron, President, Retiree Chapter 8045R
Cortney Marabetta, AFT Washington Staff

The AFT has organized paraprofessionals and school-related personnel since the early 1930s, when the first PSRP affiliate, the Education Secretaries of Chicago, was founded. Today, the AFT PSRP division sets a foundation for high-quality education by supporting meaningful professional development, promoting health and safety in the workplace, and demonstrating the importance of a strong and just work ethic in a bully-free environment. Most important is its commitment to safe and welcoming schools and colleges for students who deserve high-quality food programs; reliable school buses; clean, secure buildings; efficiently run offices; and well-trained staff.


The AFT represents higher education faculty (including both full- and part-time), professional staff and graduate employees, in all sectors of higher education—public and private, two-year and four-year institutions of higher education.

The AFT Higher Education division's mission is to help our affiliates and their members prosper in the face of political, economic and technological forces challenging the most basic assumptions about the union's role on campus. 


The American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, was founded in 1916 and today represents 1.7 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide.

Five divisions within the AFT represent the broad spectrum of the AFT's membership: pre-K through 12th-grade teachersparaprofessionals and other school-related personnelhigher education faculty and professional stafffederal, state and local government employees; and nurses and other healthcare professionals. In addition, the AFT represents approximately 80,000 early childhood educators and nearly 250,000 retiree members.


Mission of the AFT

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.

The AFT was founded in Chicago, with eight locals signing on as AFL President Samuel Gompers welcomed the union into its fold in 1916. The union operated from one room of AFT Financial Secretary Freeland Stecker's five-room bungalow in Chicago. President Charles Stillman lived next door.

While the AFT grew quickly in the beginning, chartering 174 locals in its first four years, the years following World War I saw school boards pressuring and intimidating teachers to resign from the union. By the end of the 1920s, AFT membership had dropped to less than 5,000—about half the number in 1920. Throughout that time, the union fought for tenure laws, as well as for the academic freedom of those teachers whose beliefs were being investigated by political committees during the "Red scare" hysteria following WWI.


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