AFL-CIO Divisions Unlikely to Affect Teachers’ Union

By Joetta L. Sack — August 09, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The pullout of at least three major labor unions from the AFL-CIO is unlikely to have much effect on the American Federation of Teachers—at least in the short term, union representatives and observers say.

The 1.3 million-member AFT announced at its annual meeting late last month that it would stay with the AFL-CIO, and, in fact, AFT President Edward J. McElroy played a critical role in negotiating with leaders of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the other groups before they decided to split.

Alex Wohl, a spokesman for the AFT, said most of the teachers’ union locals would not see any effect. Some, however, could get a slight bump in membership from such members of the departing unions as school health-care workers, he added.

Whether the departures of the Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union from the AFL-CIO will harm or rejuvenate the ailing labor movement was a topic debated by numerous analysts.

Could they, for example, spur the nation’s largest teachers’ union, the 2.8 million-member National Education Association, to reconsider a merger or more partnerships with the AFT? NEA members rejected a 1998 proposal to merge with the AFT, in part because of the AFL-CIO’s image as a blue-collar organization that some teachers associated with union corruption.

“My tendency is to think this is a wash for the teachers’ unions; nothing really changes,” said Mike Antonucci, the director of the Education Intelligence Agency, an Elk Grove, Calif.-based teachers’ union watchdog.

NEA President Reg Weaver agreed. “AFT is still part of the AFL-CIO, … and the AFL-CIO is still in existence,” he said. Further, he said, “I don’t think that it will hinder any kind of communicating or relationships that NEA and AFT have.”

A version of this article appeared in the August 10, 2005 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum How Florida's New School Librarian Training Defines Off-Limits Materials
School librarians will soon have to seek parent approval to order new books, and have to avoid books considered "indoctrination."
3 min read
Books line shelves in a high school library Monday, October 1, 2018, in Brownsville, Texas. The Brownsville Independent School District announced having been awarded a multi-million-dollar grant to revitalize libraries to encourage reading by school-aged children to improve literacy skills. It was stated in the meeting that money could also be used to replace aging furniture in some of the district's libraries.
Books line shelves in a high school library in Brownsville, Texas in 2018. In Florida, school librarians will be required to complete training this year that will include how to seek parent approval before they can purchase new books for school libraries and classrooms.
Jason Hoekema/The Brownsville Herald via AP
Curriculum What the Research Says How an Attention-Training Program Can Make Teens Better Drivers
A driving simulation created to tune up attention skills in young drivers with ADD could have wider benefits.
6 min read
Driver Training Simulator
A student uses a driving trainer simulator to sharpen attention skills.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital
Curriculum Q&A You Can Teach About Climate Change in Every Subject and Grade Level. Here's How
Math, foreign language, even art classes offer opportunities to build students' knowledge.
8 min read
Tree growing from a book with education icons floating above, focusing on climate change and curriculum
Curriculum Media Literacy in Schools: 7 Ways the Subject Has Evolved
A handy guide about media literacy to get up to speed on the topic.
3 min read
Photo of computer and newspapers.
iStock / Getty Images Plus