AFT leaders see impacts of hurricane on Puerto Rico, hear results of walkouts nationwide

The AFT Executive Council–the governing body for our national affiliate, which includes Texas AFT President Louis Malfaro and Houston Federation of Teachers President Zeph Capo–is meeting this week in Puerto Rico.

Since Hurricane Maria devastated the island this past September, AFT and our Puerto Rico affiliate, the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico, have been working non-stop to bring relief to teachers, students, families and residents of the island in the wake of the worst natural disaster to ever hit Puerto Rico. To date, through AFT’s Operation Agua, our union has distributed  54,000 Koehler Clarity water filters (with 23,000 more on the way) to thousands of public schools, and tens of thousands of homes, churches and community centers across the island. Operation Aqua has raised $1.75 million and is on track to meet our goal of providing 100,000 filters to Puerto Rican members, schools and families. Texas AFT members have given generously and can still do so at www.aft.org/operation-agua.

The AFT Executive Council also heard from union leaders of West Virginia and Oklahoma about the recent teacher and school employee walkouts that have resulted in huge victories in those states that include gains in education funding, pay raises and healthcare funding, tax increases to fund schools, and the defeat of anti-union and anti-public education legislation. These leaders were quick to point out that the actions in their states were not strikes, per se, but rather mass actions that had broad support among educators, parents school district leaders and the public. Teachers and school employees across the country are fed up with elected officials who are failing to provide us with the tools we need to meet the needs of all our students, decent pay and benefits, and the respect we have earned as professional educators.

You can make you’re voice heard on these issues by joining us next Saturday at our Speak Out! Stand Together! rally in Houston.