News

Share This

Voting for democracy and a better life

In the leadup to the midterm elections, pundits predicted a red wave, even a tsunami, based on polls, historical precedent, and steep gas and grocery prices. But I had my doubts. I spent the weeks before the elections talking to voters and traveling on the AFT Votes bus, rolling through a dozen states with more than 50 stops. In a year when kitchen table issues, democracy and our freedoms were on the ballot, many people told me that the elections came down to a choice between, on the one side, election deniers and extremists stoking fear, and on the other, problem-solvers working to help the country move forward. Many races were close, but Americans turned the tide from a red wave to a swell of support for progress and problem-solvers. Read the full column here.

Lawrence Federation of Paraprofessionals Reaches Historic Settlement with Transformational Wage Increases

After a contract campaign that brought hundreds of educators, elected officials, and community members together to demand a living wage, the Lawrence Federation of Paraprofessionals (LFP) has reached a tentative agreement on a historic contract settlement. The LFP pushed for months to lift its members out of poverty and win a living wage for all members. LFP members are overwhelmingly Lawrence Residents, LPS parents, and women of color.

2023 AFT Massachusetts Scholarship Program

Every year AFT Massachusetts awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to eligible high school seniors who are dependents of AFT Massachusetts members. The awards, named in honor of former AFT leaders Kathy Kelley, Albert Shanker and Sandra Feldman, and for long-time AFT Massachusetts field representative Jay Porter, are awarded on the basis of a labor history exam administered by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO
 

Sharing more pathways to student debt relief

As the landscape of student debt shifts, and more and more opportunities allow borrowers to have their debt relieved, the AFT is using every avenue to ensure that the word is out. In affiliate meetings, telephone town halls, media coverage and social media, the union is spreading the news, and at a student debt clinic at AFT headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 31, AFT President Randi Weingarten vowed to reach as many people as possible with information that could save them tens—and sometimes hundreds—of thousands of dollars.

AFT Massachusetts Endorses Maura Healey for Governor of Massachusetts

“As the People’s Lawyer, Maura has always stood up strong for Massachusetts students and educators. As our next Governor, she’ll bring Massachusetts together to build an equitable recovery in our schools,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “As Governor, Maura will invest in the academic supports, wraparound services, and mental health resources our students need to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

AFT Massachusetts Endorses Maura Healey for Governor of Massachusetts

“As the People’s Lawyer, Maura has always stood up strong for Massachusetts students and educators. As our next Governor, she’ll bring Massachusetts together to build an equitable recovery in our schools,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “As Governor, Maura will invest in the academic supports, wraparound services, and mental health resources our students need to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

UMass Dartmouth AFT Locals Advocating For Greater Investment, More Affordability in Massachusetts’ Public Colleges

As a new report reveals that Massachusetts students are being priced out of public college by rising tuition and fees, members of the UMass Dartmouth Faculty Federation are advocating for greater state investment in Massachusetts’ public colleges in order to make them affordable to the middle class again.

“Earning a degree from a state college – which was once heralded as a pathway of opportunity – has become completely unfeasible for most middle-class families and students across Massachusetts,” says Dr. Grant O’Rielly, President of the UMass Dartmouth Faculty Federation.

Kontos to DESE: Suspend Broken School Accountability System

The state should hit the pause button on its deeply flawed school and district accountability system, AFT MA President Beth Kontos tells state education officials in a May 12 letter. “The current ‘test, rank, label, and punish’ approach to accountability is causing serious and demonstrable harm,” Kontos writes. “Until that harm can be stopped, all accountability measures and DESE interventions should be suspended – not just for 2021-22 but indefinitely.”

AFT Massachusetts Announces Recipients of 2022 Distinguished Service Awards

AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos and Secretary-Treasurer Brant Duncan are thrilled to announce the winners of the union’s 2022 Distinguished Service Awards.

The Distinguished Service Awards are presented annually to AFT Massachusetts members who have demonstrated an outstanding level of service and dedication to their local union. Here are this year’s winners:

PreK-12 Educator

Celebrating student loan relief

“It was like waking up and learning you won the lottery.” That’s just one of the comments flooding the AFT offices from members who are elated to be free of student debt at last. After relentless advocacy, including an AFT lawsuit against former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that was so broken is finally doing what it is supposed to do: delivering relief from student debt for thousands of borrowers. So far, $6.2 billion in student debt has been forgiven for 100,000 public service workers like teachers, nurses and professors.