The AFT National Convention continues in the city of Detroit with AFT members discussing new ways of maintaining quality education and essential public services in the face of threats presented by corporate and special interests. Across the nation, those interests have sponsored anti-union attacks and have promoted budget cuts that require the elimination of jobs for teachers and public workers. The more than 3,000 delegates attending the 82nd AFT National Convention, however, have been inspired by the remarks of President Randi Weingarten, who told convention attendees that AFT would pursue a new vision of unionism. Weingarten told convention delegates that AFT must pursue “solution driven unionism,” an approach that focuses on uniting union members and creating solutions to the problems that plague working people and their communities.
The folks who keep the town of Ocean City, Md., running—beach sweepers, boardwalk crews, bus drivers, recreation staff, clerks, trash collectors and more—just want to be heard. Thus far, they’ve made their voices clear enough to win a place on November’s ballot, where voters will decide whether city general staff should have the right to collective bargaining.
The Maryland Senate has voted to shift of some of the cost of teacher pensions to Baltimore City and the state’s counties as part of an efforts to avoid more than $500 million in so-called Doomsday budget cuts originally scheduled to take effect on July 1.
The House voted 86-51 for the that will begin splitting teacher pension costs between the state and local jurisdictions over the next four years. In the Senate, the vote on the measure that included the teacher pension shift was 33-13.
AFT-Maryland and its affiliate, the Baltimore Teachers Union, have long opposed shifting the cost of pensions to local governments. Many local jurisdictions, such as the City of Baltimore, already suffer from budget deficits.