Overview of the American Federation of Teachers:
The American Federation of Teachers, or AFT, is a teacher's union that currently has more than 1.4 million members. It is affiliated with the international union, AFL-CIO. Further, it has 43 state affiliates and more than 3000 local affiliates.
Founding and Background Information:
The AFT was founded in Chicago in 1916 to represent the interests of teachers. By 1920, over 10,000 individuals had joined the union. However, by the end of the 1920s membership was cut in half as school boards pressured teachers to resign. AFT membership waxed and waned depending on the political climate. However, it fought for and won some form of tenure
in 17 states by 1932. During the 1960s, affiliates in New York City held a one-day walkout mirrored in other cities. These labor activities resulted in more protection for teachers. The union has continued to work for increased academic freedom and protection.
American Federation of Teachers Mission:
According to their website
: "The mission of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, is to improve the lives of our members and their families, to give voice to their legitimate professional, economic and social aspirations, to strengthen the institutions in which we work, to improve the quality of the services we provide, to bring together all members to assist and support one another and to promote democracy, human rights and freedom in our union, in our nation and throughout the world."
Benefits of Joining the AFT:
There are many benefits of joining the AFT. Obviously, the main purpose that people join in any union is to add strength to the bargaining position of the union for contract and labor negotiations. Beyond that, however, the AFT provides other incentives for membership. The most important of these benefits for many teachers is the million dollar liability protection provided by the union. Beyond this, there are low cost life insurance benefits, mortgage assistance, credit cards, and discount programs for many items and services.
Costs of Joining the AFT:
Membership in the AFT is usually established by joining an AFT local. Most of these are through a specific employer like a school board. The cost of joining is actually determined in these instances by the dues for both the national organization and the local organization. Therefore, each district or organization will have different costs for membership. If you are not in an area covered by a local affiliate, you can join as an Associate. For $60, you can receive $1 million in occupational liability insurance and up to $10,000 in legal defense protection along with the other monetary benefits.