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On The Shooting At University of Nevada, Las Vegas

As is depressingly common, several people have been injured and killed due to gun violence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Countless others have been traumatized by the terror they felt during the incident. Worse, the damage to us all is cumulative: all who work in education, students, and their families throughout the country are left with anxiety and fear, unable to feel the sense of safety we all need to thrive, and wondering when their campus will be the target. This is the 80th school shooting this year; that fear should surprise no one in the face of such a bleak statistic.

We send our deepest sympathies and love to all impacted by this assault, knowing that sympathies and love mean little without action.

As education workers, this is a moment when our membership can work together for real solutions to the epidemic of gun violence in schools and colleges, as well as in places of faith, shopping centers, childcare centers, and our communities more broadly. In the upcoming legislative session, we will be working with the Alliance for Gun Responsibility to advance laws proven to reduce gun violence. You can stay informed by signing up for our Legisletter here.

At the same time, we know that workers are well positioned to develop the measures that will make their workplaces safer. We encourage you to raise the subject of safety at your workplace with your union and to urge your employer to create the opportunity for your school, center, or college community members to come together and build the solutions needed. Solutions to this crisis are possible, and we can contribute to build them in meaningful ways.

Finally, as an AFT member you have access to trauma counseling as one of your union benefits. If the need arises you can find out more about that resource here.

Please take care of yourself and those around you - our solidarity and community can be a source of comfort and strength in the face of tragedy, and our action together can create change that ends the cycle of fear.

Photo of AFT President Randi Weingarten addressing TEACH 2023

The AFT has always been a solutions-driven union, and our new campaign, launched during TEACH on July 21, proves it once again with a fresh, practical approach to strengthening public education. As AFT President Randi Weingarten pointed out during her keynote speech, the $5 million, yearlong campaign, “Real Solutions for Kids and Communities,” stands up against attacks on public schools and offers real-world solutions to build up, rather than break down, our communities.

Randi Weingarten at a Massachusetts high school

Summer is upon us, and parents, children and teachers are winding down from what has been an exhausting and fully operational school year—the first since the devastating pandemic. The long-lasting impact of COVID-19 has affected our students’ and families’ well-being and ignited the politics surrounding public schools. All signs point to the coming school year unfolding with the same sound and fury, and if extremist culture warriors have their way, being even more divisive and stressful.


Unions Standing Strong in Face of Big Supreme Court Case

February 26, 2018 | Washington News Service | Eric Tegethoff, Producer

SEATTLE – The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case Monday that has big implications for unions.

In Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), justices will decide whether employees represented by public unions have to pay so-called fair share fees if they do not want to be members.

Read entire story and audio here.

Part-time Professors Get Unemployment Advice from the Pros

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest.  - John Dewey

May 16, 2012
Chris Thomas, Producer

RENTON, Wash. - Getting unemployment benefits can be a challenge, particularly for those in temporary jobs. This weekend, part-time college instructors are getting a short course in how and when to file for unemployment. [click here to read full story or hear audio]

WNS | Paraeducators Protest Work Cutbacks - and Win

August 15, 2011 | Washington News Service

TACOMA, Wash. - As many schools ponder cutting another ten percent from their budgets in the coming months at the governor's request, the Tacoma School District's decision not to cut some employees' hours is a stark contrast. Those employees are paraeducators, who work one-on-one with students with severe physical or learning disabilities. Already some of the lowest-paid workers at schools, their hours were going to be trimmed by 30 minutes a day. [more]

Washington News Service | March 28, 2011

Seattle, WA - While labor unions – and union-busting efforts – are making headlines elsewhere in the nation, a new union local is being formed on the University of Washington campus without a controversy. The lecturers who work in the Educational Outreach English Language Program say the nature of their work has put them in a kind of limbo. They want to clarify how they are classified on the job, and to have a voice on campus. Comments from Richard Moore, one of the lecturers. [more]


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.

When I got a pile of checks in the mail from FedLoan Servicing, I thought it was a scam. FedLoan is my student loan servicer, and even though I knew it was part of a new debt relief program I didn’t think I’d qualify for relief — and this was more than relief. It was actual checks. But when I opened one of them — so I could report it as fraud — it said it was a refund for a student loan payment. My student loans had been cancelled as part of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and FedLoan was admitting it had overcharged me for two years. It was refunding me all those extra payments. I was floored. FedLoan was canceling almost $40,000 worth of debt. And it was returning about $5,000 in overpayments. At age 71, I never thought I’d see the day. I am so grateful. Grateful to the union for urging me to apply for loan relief, and showing me how; grateful to Randi Weingarten for bringing a lawsuit against Betsy DeVos to fix the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program; grateful to everyone involved. MORE
​ There’s a lot of information going around right now about vaccines, mask mandates, rising rates, fatigued healthcare providers, and overflowing hospitals – it’s enough to make your head spin! We are reaching out to you to provide information and perspective. This week, Governor Inslee issued a vaccine mandate for state employees, healthcare workers and contractors with exceptions for medical or religious reasons. PreK-12 and higher education workers were excluded from the mandate, although the majority of public colleges and universities have already established a vaccine mandate for anyone working at or attending their schools. King County and Seattle are also mandating employee vaccinations and it is possible that other cities and counties will follow suit. ​ MORE