Members of our AFT Connecticut-affiliated local unions representing educators and support staff in Newtown Public Schools relive the Sandy Hook massacre with each school shooting headline. Yesterday's incident in Texas closely mirrors their own horror, in which six of their colleagues and 20 of their students were in December, 2012 slain. Trent Harrison, a science educator at the town's high school and president of our Newtown Federation of Teachers, captured his colleagues' emotions in an open letter to the nation:
Lawmakers in late April approved significant investments in the state workforce, capping union members' efforts aimed at successor contracts. Our latest quarterly collective bargaining report showcases seven affiliated public employee locals and their wider coalition's landmark achievement - their first such agreements without concessions in more than a decade. Together they demonstrated how a seat at the table yields much more than pay raises and better conditions.
The recent pattern begun last year of affiliated local unions negotiating contracts with solid pay increases has over the past 90 days continued to be repeated. Our latest collective bargaining report features one such affiliate whose leadership overcame historic inequities to win a ground-breaking new agreement in negotiations with their employer. Members' personal progress will additionally benefit the community they serve as the provisions promise to stabilize the workforce for years to come.
Leaders representing over 60,000 public education employees across Connecticut are urging immediate implementation of new, strict, consistent protocols and safety standards in our schools. Our Board of Education (BOE) Union Coalition is calling on state and district officials to take specific additional steps ahead of students’ return from winter break. Action is needed now as the COVID-19 omicron variant continues transmitting at the highest levels since the start of the pandemic.
Click here for the coalition's updated core principles.
State and local union leaders are engaging with rank-and-file members in support of a new multi-media project designed to raise educators’ collective public profile. The online platform, "Teachers of Connecticut," was in August launched to amplify the voices of practitioners across the state with an initial series of stories from the classroom. News outlets have since helped further raise public awareness with coverage of featured educators.