AFT-Wisconsin Convention This Week

As part of a larger labor movement and as a local of a larger union federation, the TAA believes that it is important to work with our brothers and sisters in the House of Labor. In addition to sending delegates to and being active within the South Central Federation of Labor (where the past president was a member of the TAA) and working with the Wisconsin AFL-CIO (whose president is a member of the TAA), both organizations within that larger labor movement, we are a local of AFT. AFT represents roughly 1.6 million professional workers nationwide, including academics, doctors, lawyers, dentists, nurses, teachers, and other public employees (and one of the national vice presidents and executive board members is a former TAA member). Right here in Wisconsin, AFT has a state federation of nearly 20,000 workers which includes our sister union, the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association and faculty unions TAUWP (The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals, the union for UW System faculty and academic staff) and UFAS (United Faculty and Academic staff, at UW-Madison) and a host of other locals.

We are an active part of AFT-Wisconsin, the state federation, including our work on organizing and political action committees in addition to having a member of the state fed’s executive board. Past TAA Co-President Tim Frandy is a Vice President of AFT-Wisconsin and sits in that position. AFT-Wisconsin actually employs three former grad unionists, including one each from the TAA and the MGAA.

This week, AFT-Wisconsin is holding an annual convention. Every other year, there are elections for offices in the state federation and resolutions on federation policy, program, and practice. This year, there is a contested election for Executive Vice President of the federation. This past Wednesday at our General Membership Meeting, we voted to endorse Marietta Love, who is a member of one of our strong allies in the AFT, Local 212, the progressive union of faculty and staff at Milwaukee Area Technical College. The TAA will be sending delegates to the convention to vote on this election, among others, as well as on resolutions on things like how our dues money is spent on organizing and political action.

Unionism is predicated upon the idea that we are stronger together and that we make gains when workers band together to fight for and with one another. We believe that is true in one place like at UW-Madison, but we also believe that is true on a larger scale, like across the state of Wisconsin. That is why it is important that we participate vigorously in our state federation, AFT-Wisconsin. Upon return from the convention, we will have updates on important business that took place and anything else of interest to grad student workers and unionists alike.