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Statement on White Supremacist Violence in Charlottesville, VA

from Karen Strickland, President of AFT Washington, AFL-CIO
 
The torches, Nazi salutes and flags, weapons, and racist words expressed by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend are yet more incidents signaling that institutionalized and individual racism is alive and well in our country. The terrorist act of a young man resulting in the death of Heather Heyer and the injuries of 18 others demands that we finally, fully acknowledge the extreme threat posed by white supremacy. 

Strikes and shutdowns

In Los Angeles, UTLA members took to the picket lines because their schools are starved of resources. In Washington, D.C., President Trump has shut down the government to secure his border wall. In her monthly New York Times column, AFT President Randi Weingarten writes that when our elected leaders fail, whether by not funding public schools or by shutting down services that provide for our safety, they strike at the very heart of what makes us a democratic republic. Read the full column.

Struggling in a ‘strong’ economy

In her monthly New York Times column, AFT President Randi Weingarten highlights the massive gap between President Trump’s rhetoric and reality.  While the well-to-do are doing very well in the current economy, working Americans have been left behind. Weingarten demands leaders take action to benefit all Americans by ensuring accessible, affordable healthcare for all; reining in college debt; and adequately funding public education. Read the full column.

Statement by Randi Weingarten on AFT Amicus Brief Filed in Janus Supreme Court Case

On Friday, January 19, AFT filed an Amicus Brief in support of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) that lays out an argument citing the role of collective bargaining in improving public sector workplaces, repudiating plaintiff’s constitutionally flawed warping and weaponizing of the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in February and make a decision by June. [read more]

We Lose, Wealthiest Win in GOP Tax Reform Bill

Statement by Karen Strickland, President 
American Federation of Teachers Washington

December 20, 2017

Today Congress passed a devastating tax plan in which 83 percent of the benefits will go to the top 1% percent by 2027, and where Americans earning less than $75,000 a year will be paying more so tax cuts can go to the wealthiest, big corporations, and foreign investors. 

This is greed pure and simple. President Trump and members of Congress passed a bill that will benefit their coffers at the expense of our communities and working families. This unpopular bill was not supported by the majority of Americans and independent economists’ analyses found the middle-class will be hurt. [cont'd]

Statement on GOP's Higher Ed Reauthorization

Dec. 1, 2017

AFT President Randi Weingarten and United University Professions President Frederick Kowal issued a statement today condemning House Republicans’ plan to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. According to the statement, “This is not how we, as a nation, should reauthorize crucial civil rights legislation. We will fight it tooth and nail, and we will work with responsible members of Congress to design a real bill that puts students first, not unaccountable for-profit corporations.” [read the full statement].

Related article, GOP Begins Rewrite of Federal Aid Law, Insider Higher Education, 11/30/17 

Statement by Karen Strickland on the Anniversary of Executive Order 9066

January 16, 2017

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." This quote, initially stated long ago either by Edmund Burke or George Santayana,  seems especially relevant today, as the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 approaches. Executive Order 9066 was President F. D. Roosevelt’s order to incarcerate roughly 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII . . .

Statement on 2015-2017 State Operating Budget

AFT Washington applauds Governor Inslee and the House and Senate for passing a compromise 2015-2017 budget that supports education employees. The budget provides a 4.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment over two years for education employees covered by voter-approved Initiative 732. This not only covers K-12 teachers but also community and technical college (CTC) faculty, technical college classified employees, and K-12 school support staff. [full release]

"Free" Community College

January 13, 2015 | Washington News Service | Chris Thomas, Producer

SHORELINE, Wash. - It's still just an idea, but President Obama's mention of a plan to allow students to attend community college free for two years, providing they keep their grades up, is getting thumbs up from some Washington educators. Tuition at the state's community and technical colleges has risen 38 percent in the last six years. The price tag for Obama's national proposal is $60 billion over a ten-year period, and states would be required to fund one-fourth of the program. - See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2015-01-13/education/free-community-college-would-it-could-it-should-it-work-in-washington/a43968-1#sthash.qCJ9j6v8.dpuf