Empowering Educators: Spring AFT, Brownsville Educators Stand Together Officially Charter as Texas AFT Local Unions

Educators in Spring ISD and Brownsville ISD are celebrating a significant milestone, as Texas AFT organizing committees in each district officially voted to charter as full local unions. In the past week, both Spring AFT and Brownsville Educators Stand Together (BEST AFT) voted to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Texas AFT, and the AFL-CIO. This move marks a new chapter in their ongoing efforts to advocate for better working conditions and schools funded to thrive.

BEST AFT, and Spring AFT have worked tirelessly for years to support the rights and well-being of their members. Their organizing efforts have focused on crucial issues, such as class sizes, employee pay, school funding, mental health support, and professional respect. The formal affiliation with AFT and Texas AFT amplifies their voice and strengthens their ability to effect positive change, locally and statewide.

“We are proud to stand together in solidarity with millions of workers across the United States,” said Celia Saiz-Broussard, the newly elected president of BEST AFT. “Our union is a powerful voice for BISD employees, and we will continue our tireless advocacy to ensure that school employees and students have a chance to thrive.”

BEST AFT’s list of achievements is impressive. Members in Brownsville have secured significant pay raises for BISD employees, including a $4,000 increase for certified employees in 2022 and a minimum wage of $15 an hour for classified employees. They have also been at the forefront of ensuring safe school environments during the COVID-19 pandemic, advocating for measures such as distanced learning, mandatory masking, and personal protective equipment for staff.

Spring AFT has similarly been a strong advocate for educators, focusing on improving working conditions and securing necessary resources. Their efforts have led to meaningful changes that benefit educators and students, and even without a local union structure, Spring AFT members have been active in legislative advocacy for years. In 2023, Spring AFT’s organizing committee chair, Yolanda Merritt, traveled to Austin to testify against the proposed private school voucher scheme.

Texas AFT is proud to welcome these two new local unions and celebrates the achievements of our members in both districts. They serve as a powerful example of how unity and collective action can create real change. We can’t wait to see where both unions go from here in their advocacy for the well-being of Texas educators.