2022 AFT Convention Recap: Texas AFT Members Recognized for Wage Victories, Union Growth

Texas A-F-T President Zeph Capo speaks into a microphone. Behind him, Jackie Anderson and Rena Honea, both local A-F-T presidents, applaud.

Last week, AFT members from across the country met in Boston, Massachusetts, for AFT’s 87th Biennial Convention. Texas AFT was represented at the convention by more than 30 delegates, led by Texas AFT President Zeph Capo.

Delegates participated in a wide array of programming, including special recognition of certain locals for their union victories, several business items, and a slew of special guest speakers.

Aldine AFT President Candis Houston (left) and McAllen AFT President Sylvia Tanguma (right) pose with AFT President Randi Weingarten

Aldine AFT President Candis Houston and McAllen AFT President Sylvia Tanguma received the “Pride of the Union” award from AFT President Randi Weingarten for their work to significantly increase their membership in their locals. This award was presented to a select group of locals from across the country.

Texas AFT President Zeph Capo spoke on the floor of the AFT convention to highlight Texas AFT’s work. Zeph explained that teachers and school staff in Texas were being overworked and underpaid but Texas AFT locals are fighting back. Despite being a so-called “right-to-work” state that bans collective bargaining, Texas AFT local unions and Associate Membership Program members have continued to achieve a number of key victories. While speaking on the floor, Zeph was flanked by Houston Federation of Teachers President Jackie Anderson and Dallas Alliance-AFT President Rena Honea, whose unions won significant pay raises for DISD and HISD teachers.

Zeph was re-elected as an AFT vice president along with the rest of AFT’s executive leadership. Aside from these leadership positions, AFT delegates also voted to pass a wide range of resolutions including:

  • Community Schools: Helping Students Thrive in Our Schools and Communities, resolving that AFT will advocate for funding at the federal level dedicated specifically for creating additional community schools and supporting the hiring of community school directors/coordinators to lead the critical work of aligning community services with family and student needs.
  • A special order of business to adopt AFT’s “Teacher and School Staff Shortage Task Force Report,” which is the culmination of in-depth member surveys, multiple listening sessions, numerous virtual and in-person task force meetings, input from top researchers, the hard work of AFT elected leaders and staff, and the guidance of AFT national officers.
  • Living Wages for All AFT Members, which pledges that AFT will offer tools, resources, and support to any local union with members who earn less than a living wage and want to undertake a campaign to raise wages to a living-wage standard.

In addition to these business items, AFT delegates were joined by a variety of guest speakers including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Ed Markey, Sec. of Labor Marty Walsh, and First Lady Jill Biden.