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AFT-Wisconsin Newsletter: October 2015

The October 2015 issue of AFT-Wisconsin's newsletter, The Union Voice, is now available, spotlighting three ways in which AFT-Wisconsin members are making a difference.  You can read individual articles below, or download the issue as a PDF file.  If you would like to suggest a story for a future issue, please contact AFT-Wisconsin Communications Director Aaron Bibb.

UW System workers gather to preserve academic freedom

On September 19, faculty, academic staff, and graduate students from across the UW System gathered in Milwaukee to participate in the Higher Education Workers Summit, sponsored jointly by AFT-Wisconsin and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).  The meeting, organized by members of AFT-Wisconsin’s Higher Education Council along with colleagues from the AAUP, brought together members from eight UW System institutions to plan a collective, statewide defense of educational quality and academic freedom in the UW System. (Read more.)

Sharing best practices to support grieving students

Losing a loved one is never easy—and that’s especially true for students who lose a close friend or family member.  And yet a 2012 survey by AFT and New York Life Foundation in 2012 found that 7 in 10 teachers have a grieving student in their classroom—but only 7% of teachers reported that they had ever received bereavement training.  Julie Petersen, a school counselor at Parkview Elementary in Chippewa Falls and a member of AFT local 1907, is part of a group of AFT members working to change that across the country.  (Read more.)

AFT-Wisconsin members work to address racial equity

Throughout our union’s history, AFT members have often been at the forefront of the labor movement in addressing racism and fighting for social justice—not only in our communities and our workplaces, but, when necessary, within the labor movement and the AFT itself.  One of the very earliest AFT charters was issued to a union of black high school teachers in Washington, D.C., prior to the second ever AFT convention.  And in the 1950s and 1960s, AFT members worked hand-in-hand with civil rights leaders to fight school segregation and Jim Crow, while the AFT banned segregated locals in 1953 and then expelled all local unions that insisted upon segregation.  Now, following a series of high-profile deaths of young black men and women at the hands of police, AFT members have formed the AFT Racial Equity Task Force (RETF), which includes AFT-Wisconsin members Katie Zaman of AFT local 3220, the UW-Madison Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA), and Cynthia Wynn of AFT local 4822, the Wisconsin State Public Defenders Association.  (Read more.)