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        Boston is filled with historical reminders that it was the birthplace of the American Revolution – AND the birthplace of free public education in America. The AFT leadership showed it is ready, willing and able to honor that history by carrying the torch to light the way for urban and rural communities across America. Believing that 'public schools unite us' the AFT outlined many ways for us to 'be reasonable in an unreasonable world'.

        Speakers, politicians, officers, leaders and young people emphasized the important role true, traditional public education is in sustaining our democratic principles. Rank and file members from every state repeatedly told the 3000+ attendees “We love what we do but we could love it more if we could make it better”. In those states where unions are respected partners as stakeholders in their communities, professional life is less stressful than in the Right To Work (RTW) states where unions are under constant assault by politicians. In RTW states legislation is being used as a weapon to punish workers and their families. Citing a more enlightened administration, the point was made that legislation could and is being used for 'game changing' positives such as wage increases, safer working conditions and better staffing to improve outcomes. Infrastructure, loan forgiveness, the protection of women, children and families are all priorities for AFT and its partners.

        AFT represents hospital and other health care workers as well as educators and support staff in dozens of professions across all 50 states. And in every state, at every worksite the union promotes bottom up solutions instead of top down mandates; whether an active worker in mid career, a retiree or a young newcomer to the job market, the message was a resounding “We hear you! We are here for you!”. 

        One new partnership was formalized: The AAUP, American Association of University Professors, joined AFT leadership on stage to emphasize that “courses taught must be more important than building stadiums...and that academic freedom must prevail on every campus in America.”

        Many resolutions were passed unanimously such as protecting the right to organize. Timely, informative panels on healthcare and gun violence were energizing as were the young people who addressed the convention. And the answer to “What time is it? Was always UNION TIME”