Resolution in Support of Exploring Unity with the Wisconsin Education Association Council

October 16, 2012

A message from Local 243 President Mario Dusio: Brothers and Sisters, As many of you know, the AFT-Wisconsin Convention is at the end of this month. One of the resolutions that will be brought forward is from the AFT-WI/WEAC Interaction Committee. Below is the draft resolution which will be voted on at the 2012 Convention. This resolution requests permission to assemble a merger proposal, which the members will debate and vote on at a future convention.

Copies of this document were e-mailed to all Local 243 members on October 16, 2012. If you did not receive a copy, please contact your local steward to make certain your e-mail address is up-to-date.

In Support of Exploring Unity with the Wisconsin Education Association Council

Whereas, AFT-Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) have a rich tradition of promoting educational excellence and good government; and

Whereas, WEAC and AFT-W share similar values, goals and objectives in the pursuit of strong labor protections for our members, professional development in our careers, and effective policies to govern all levels of education and public service; and

Whereas, the past two decades have seen ever-increasing levels of cooperation, coordination, and collaboration between our two organizations; and

Whereas, Act 10 sought to divide career public servants, educators, and law enforcement; and

Whereas, in response to Act 10, unions in our state have relearned a valuable lesson from labor history: by working in concert we are best able to advocate on behalf of our members and to maintain Wisconsin’s tradition of high-quality public education and transparent government; and

Whereas, the AFT-W / WEAC Interaction Committee has been meeting for months to explore each organization in detail—membership, organizational structure, services and programming, finances, political involvement, member engagement, and staffing; and

Whereas, the Interaction Committee has determined that both organizations duplicate efforts by performing similar functions independent of one another; and

Whereas, the rationale behind the Interaction Committee’s work is that we are stronger together.

Therefore, be it resolved that AFT-Wisconsin delegates assembled at convention support the principle that AFT-W and WEAC can best achieve our shared goals by combining the resources, talents, and personnel of the two organizations; and

Be it further resolved that AFT-Wisconsin believes that a single, unified organization could provide a strong voice for quality public education and public services along with an expanded commitment to the well-being of our members and communities; and

Be it further resolved that the AFT-Wisconsin officers and Executive Board shall form a Unity Committee to assemble a merger proposal to be brought back to a future convention. That proposal shall include a transition timeline and governing documents for a joint organizational structure that includes existing locals and members of WEAC and AFT-W; and

Be it finally resolved that the following governing principles shall guide the merger talks:

The Wisconsin merged member organization will be affiliated with both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, and will:

1. Have as its mission: to serve as a strong, unified voice for public education and public services; to advance our members’ professions; and, to support innovation in public education and public services.
2. Include in its work: advocacy for fairness and dignity in the workplace; fighting for quality wages, benefits, and working conditions for all members; promoting member activism and engagement; promoting diversity in our governance and in the workplace; and, valuing and respecting all members and all internal constituency groups.
3. Strengthen and grow by: supporting effective strong union locals; fighting to regain full collective bargaining rights for all public employees; promoting solidarity among workers; and organizing the unorganized in the public sector, and also other workers who contribute to the public good.
4. Be a force for good in the community and in the state by: being one with the community through leadership and involvement; exemplifying values, such as social justice and grassroots activism; supporting and promoting healthy communities and economic development; and, promoting union democracy and providing a voice for all internal constituencies.
5. Provide for sound stewardship of member dues and union resources.

Submitted by the following six individuals, who are AFT-Wisconsin members and serve as representatives of AFT-W on the AFT-W/WEAC Interaction Committee:

Deb Ausman, Local 2398 and AFT-Wisconsin Secretary
Donalea Dinsmore, Local 3732
Bryan Kennedy, Local 3535 and AFT-Wisconsin President
Joe Lowndes, Local 243
Cheryl Myers, Local 1166
Jeff Pickron, Local 3535

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