Thank you AFT members

  • After the AFT’s student loan lawsuit against former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the new Biden administration agreed to major changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and thousands of AFT members and other public employees have had their student debt forgiven. It’s life-changing to go from a student debt balance of thousands of dollars down to zero. And we know restarting payments for borrowers in January would be detrimental, and that is why we asked the White House to extend the deadline. They heard us loud and clear — student debt repayment has been extended until May 1, 2022. And remember, our student loan navigator Summer is available to every AFT member.
  • After COVID-19 vaccines became available, we mobilized to get healthcare professionals, educators and other frontline workers vaccinated. That effort, along with the layered mitigation, has been the key to getting school buildings open safely for in-person learning and our economy back on track. More than 90 percent of our members got vaccinated before it was mandated anywhere, and now we are making a big push for boosters. This summer and fall, the AFT invested $5 million — one of the largest mobilizations our union has ever made — to get students and members back into school buildings safely: getting resources in place; fighting for layered mitigation protocols; holding vaccine clinics for students and families; going door to door answering parents’ questions; and getting the services and conditions our educators and families need, like lowering class size and creating more community schools. In fact, our efforts to get school open safely was profiled in the New York Times over the weekend.
  • The silver lining of this year has been the growing recognition that workers have a shot at a better life when they are involved in labor unions, and that is exactly what the AFT has done in helping members win major contract victories, including teachers in Pennsylvania, bus drivers in Rhode Island and New Mexico, public employees in Colorado, healthcare professionals in Oregon, and lecturers in California.
  • Elections do matter. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act, which we helped secure, are huge supports for our schools, our economy and our communities. These two bills are changing people’s lives by investing millions of dollars in our roads, our schools and our communities, including broadband investments for our students and cleaning up lead pipes in our schools; and then of course there is the childcare tax credit that we’re working to renew.
  • Reading is foundational. We just launched our literacy initiative, Reading Opens the World, which is a multiyear, multimillion-dollar campaign to spark the love of reading and aims to enhance reading instruction; engage parents, families and communities; and distribute 1 million books to kids across the country.

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American Federation of Teachers president, committed to improving schools, hospitals and public institutions for children, families and communities.

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Randi Weingarten

Randi Weingarten

American Federation of Teachers president, committed to improving schools, hospitals and public institutions for children, families and communities.

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