The Road to Unity: A Chronology

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Aug. 1989: Albert Shanker, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, raises the issue of merger with the National Education Association at the AFT's convention.

Dec. 1990: The NEA board of directors opens discussions on the possibility of merging with other teachers' unions.

Albert Shanker

July 1993: Delegates to the NEA's Representative Assembly agree to open merger talks and reconsider the union's 1976 policy banning affiliation with the AFL-CIO.

Sept. 1993: Negotiating teams for the NEA and the AFT begin merger talks.

Dec. 1994: Mr. Shanker and Keith B. Geiger, the NEA president, break off the talks. Teams were unable to reconcile different policies and traditions on voting procedures, term limits, and governance arrangements.

Keith B. Geiger

July 1995: Delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly agree to resume merger talks, without preconditions.

July 1996: Members of both unions approve a "no raid'' pact, in which the organizations agree not to recruit one another's members or challenge each other's bargaining rights.

Nov. 1997: Bob Chase, the new president of the NEA, and Sandra Feldman, the new president of the AFT, announce the creation of a 30-member joint council to address the issues of teacher quality, school safety and discipline, and school infrastructure needs.

Jan. 1998: Mr. Chase and Ms. Feldman release a joint progress report on unity talks, announcing conceptual agreement on key issues involved in creating what they call the "New Organization.''

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