On Sunday, July 2, 2023, leadership elections for AFT Pennsylvania, the state federation of the American Federation of Teachers, were completed as part of the federation’s constitutionally required biennial reorganization. The senior leadership of President Arthur G. Steinberg, Executive Vice President Nina Esposito-Visgitis, and Treasurer LeShawna Coleman were reelected at their convention in Philadelphia, along with a diverse Executive Council slate comprising AFT Pennsylvania locals from across the Commonwealth.
Our tradition every year is to honor the outstanding work of local union leaders, educators, paraprofessionals, and school staff with awards recognizing their excellence. This year, we will host our first ever AFT Pennsylvania Education Champions Awards Celebration.
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.
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.
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.
On Tuesday, along with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers and March for Our Lives, we held a vigil in front of Senator Pat Toomey's office to demand commonsense action on gun safety policies.
Below is a round up of the coverage we received. Special thanks to AFT PA Executive Vice President Nina Esposito-Visgitis, March for Our Lives Co-Founder David Hogg, Allegheny/Fayette Labor Council Chaplain Reverend Torrey Johnson, and PFT400 VP for Middle Schools, Robert Mitchell for assembling our group and speaking so powerfully.
PHILADELPHIA—For the second time, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania (AFTPA), and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) filed an amicus "friend of the court" brief in support of the landmark school funding trial.
Since before the trial's inception and throughout the years of preparation and court hearings, our unions and members have been staunch advocates for the fair funding of public education. Indeed, collectively with the plaintiffs, lawyers, advocates, and so