The American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second-largest teacher’s union, is facing some labor strife of its own after some 150 of its staff members were nearly set to vote June 30 whether to walk off the job.
The AFT Staff Union and the AFT reached a tentative agreement on the eve of a planned strike vote, sources told Bloomberg Law. The deal potentially averts an ugly showdown between a progressive union and its dissatisfied unionized workforce.
“We have reached a tentative agreement which we believe is fair for everyone,” AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFTSU President Tim Shea said June 28 in a joint statement. “We are not disclosing the terms of the agreement until AFTSU has had the opportunity to discuss it with their members.”
The planned strike vote highlights a growing rift in the labor movement. Other international union staff have also called out their unions for pushing progressive rights and protections for workers across the country, but playing hardball against them at home during internal collective bargaining.
The AFT Staff Union is the third group of labor movement workers to speak out in recent months against their organizations’ alleged unfair contracts. The AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union are also locked in contentious contract disputes with their staffs. Employees at the SEIU have already authorized a strike, but it’s not clear whether they plan to walk off the job.
A collective bargaining agreement between the AFT and the staff union expired June 30. A contract covering a separate group of AFT employees represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 2 exoried in March
AFT employees held a rally in front of AFT headquarters June 28, urging a fair contract. More than a dozen workers walked in front of the building’s main entrance with signs and used familiar picket chants against the union.
“Union busting is disgusting,” dozens of staff chanted at the union office building.