The American Federation of Teachers has been touting solution-driven unionism for a year. AFT President Randi Weingarten has said focusing “on solving problems, not on winning arguments,” is the way unions must respond to years of cuts to public education and attacks on collective bargaining rights.”
Now the AFT is willing to put $25,000 behind those union solutions. That’s right; if your local union joined with a community group to make sure students stayed in school and out of trouble, or to make sure patients got the care they needed, or that a struggling higher education program could be funded, that group might be eligible for $25,000.
Here are some links to where we know NYSUT locals that have found solutions to community problems: Western Sullivan UT & SRP filling backpacks with food; Newburgh TA with books and supplies for needy families; Saratoga-Adirondack BOCES EA building gardens for a housing project; and the Faculty Federation of Erie Community College fixing the Buffum House in South Buffalo.
There are many more highlighted on NYSUT’s It’s What We Do website.
NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi was an early proponent of the concept of solution-driven unionism, saying last fall: “We need to lead and to do so by providing solutions … We need to ‘speak up and speak out’ about the work we do so well. And, we need to have a strategy that isn’t about survival, but rather about succeeding.”
You’ve got until Aug. 16 to apply. The award will be given for the first time in October.