Celebrating AFT’s 100th Birthday

Members of Congress introduced a resolution Tuesday in celebration of the 100 th birthday of the American Federation of Teachers. Representative Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, spoke for many of his colleagues in an accompanying statement:

For a century, the American Federation of Teachers has been working to support the hardworking men and women who have dedicated their careers to educating the next generation of Americans. I’m proud to celebrate this milestone anniversary with its members as well as to be a cosponsor of a resolution in the House congratulating the organization on reaching its centennial.

Every child in America deserves an education facilitated by supportive, creative, and experienced teachers and other education professionals, and the best way to ensure that happens is to invest in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest to careers in education. When we undervalue our teachers, we undervalue the education our children receive. The AFT has been fighting for fair pay and benefits, safe schools, and resources that help teachers do their jobs well.  In standing up for teachers, the AFT has served not only educators and their families but served students and our country as well.

I am proud of the work we have accomplished together over the years, and I look forward to continuing that work as the AFT begins its second century of service representing teachers, public servants, and other professionals. I hope the House will strongly support our resolution and join in celebrating the centennial of this extraordinary organization that benefits our nation and its future.

Not to be outdone, members of the U.S. Senate also introduced a celebratory resolution, S. Res. 456, that emphasized AFT’s wider role in the community beyond education issues:

Whereas, during the first century of the AFT, the AFT has grown mightily into a diverse union of professionals that champions principles of fairness, democracy, economic opportunity, and high-quality public education, health­care, and public services for students, the families of the students, and communities;

Whereas the AFT advances those principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining, political activism, and the daily work of members of the AFT in the communities the members serve; and

Whereas members of the AFT and affiliates of the AFT have played a crucial role in major milestones such as the civil rights movement, education reform, women’s rights, and the evolution of the middle class: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) commemorates May 9, 2016, as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Federation of Teachers; and

(2) expresses hope that the American Federation of Teachers will honor its proud past by meeting the challenges of the future with the same level of commitment to the goals, ideals, and principles it championed during the first century of the American Federation of Teachers.

In addition:  AFT members are invited to participate in an online poll to decide which iconic photograph should grace a postcard to be printed in honor of AFT’s centennial. Check out your options and make your pick here:  https://actionnetwork.org/forms/vote-for-your-favorite-postcard.