Many well-known Americans have been AFT members, including John Dewey, Albert Einstein, Hubert Humphrey, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, former Senate Majority Leader and Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield, former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, and former United Nations Undersecretary and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche.
Albert Einstein was a founding member of AFT Local 552 at Princeton University in 1938. He devoted an entire chapter of his memoir “Out of My Later Years” to his thoughts on the “organization of intellectual workers.” Here’s a brief selection:
“An organization of intellectual workers can have the greatest significance for society as a whole by influencing public opinion through publicity and education. Indeed, it is the proper task to defend academic freedom, without which a healthy development of democracy is impossible.”