More than 1 million members strong, the AFT's Public Education unit has become a major force for preserving and strengthening a national commitment to reclaiming the promise of American education. It all began more than 100 years ago: A group of Chicago teachers, reasoning that theirs was a noble profession, organized themselves to share resources and build respect for the invaluable work they were doing. Those early efforts led to the birth of a national teachers union in 1916 that has been in the vanguard of every major advancement in American public education ever since.
The AFT represents higher education faculty (including both full- and part-time), professional staff and graduate employees, in all sectors of higher education—public and private, two-year and four-year institutions of higher education. The AFT Higher Education division's mission is to help our affiliates and their members prosper in the face of political, economic and technological forces challenging the most basic assumptions about the union's role on campus.
As a union of professionals, AFT Public Employees division is committed to improving the quality of government services we provide to our communities. Reclaiming the promise of high-quality public services is about fighting for first-rate public services that our support communities and keep them safe, healthy and vibrant. It’s about fighting to ensure that our communities’ tax dollars are properly invested back into the community, and that those resources are used responsibly and safely. Finally, it’s fighting to make sure public employees are well-prepared and supported so they can provide our communities with the high-quality services the public needs and deserves.
Paraprofessionals & School-Related Personnel
The AFT has organized paraprofessionals and school-related personnel since the early 1930s, when the first PSRP affiliate, the Education Secretaries of Chicago, was founded. Today, the AFT PSRP division sets a foundation for high-quality education by supporting meaningful professional development, promoting health and safety in the workplace, and demonstrating the importance of a strong and just work ethic in a bully-free environment. Most important is its commitment to safe and welcoming schools and colleges for students who deserve high-quality food programs; reliable school buses; clean, secure buildings; efficiently run offices; and well-trained staff.