Call on the AFT to Disaffiliate From Cop Unions: Sign-On Form
*If you are an member of an AFT union and you, your caucus, or your local would like to sign, you can do so at the bottom of this form.*

**This letter was written primarily by members of two Rank and File caucuses of AFT: RAFT at Temple University and RAFA at City University of New York. A copy of the letter with links to sources is available at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RJDb6B6_GWrrN4kTA9xHGbEWyFF6IboHvMXxr-FizDA/edit?usp=sharing


September 7th, 2021

As members of rank-and-file caucuses of unions in the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), we issue this statement in opposition to any and all relations of the AFT with police unions and all unions representing carceral workers, such as corrections officers and probation officers. Our caucuses represent workers at all levels of schools, colleges, and universities (e.g., educators, paraprofessionals, librarians, etc.) who seek to strengthen our unions' commitment to building up the power of workers and the oppressed, based on the understanding that exploitation and other forms of oppression are deeply connected. As part of this goal, we demand that organized labor cease its collaboration with, and support for, the repressive state apparatus in the form of police unions whose very role it is to squash the struggles of workers and the oppressed. We want our unions to stand strong against the bosses as well as combat racism and all state and structural violence. A crucial requirement of this commitment is to sever all connections with police locals.

There can be no question that cops are the enemy of the working class. Police in the U.S. have their origins in slave patrols and suppression of labor actions. They are an institution of organized violence designed to reproduce the structural and social relations necessary to maintain racial capitalism, patriarchy and U.S. empire. The police do not “serve and protect” the working class; they serve and protect the ruling class. We don’t want to be part of an organization that defends, legitimizes, and refuses to condemn the violent actions carried out by the police.

Currently, the AFT has relationships with police, including the Keene Police Officers Association in New Hampshire, AFT Local #6246. The AFL-CIO, of which the AFT is a part, includes the 100,000-member International Union of Police Associations. There is growing evidence that police unions exacerbate police violence and that police union contracts regularly prevent cops from being held accountable for their abuses. This means that our union dues are being used to enable police to perpetuate harm and shield cops from consequences of their actions. Despite the pressure from members, locals, and the growing #CopsOutOfTheAFL movement, the leadership of the AFL-CIO continues to apologize for police unions.

Unions are supposed to represent the interests of the workers. Unions claim to advocate for their members’ working conditions and wages. According to the AFL-CIO mission statement, “We help make safe, equitable workplaces and give working people a collective voice to address workplace injustices without the fear of retaliation. We fight for social and economic justice and strive to vanquish oppression in all its forms.” How can our union effectively fulfill this purpose if they support cops? They can’t.

The only way the AFT and the AFL-CIO can fulfill their purpose is to fully and completely disaffiliate from all police unions. We demand that they end their affiliation with cop unions, stop apologizing for cops, and stop trying to reform cop unions, as all of these actions enable and help to prolong racial and socio-economic injustice in this country. In this call, we build upon the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 uprisings in response to recent murders of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) at the hands of cops, as well as the centuries-long history of resistance and abolitionist organizing.

Further, we urge the AFT to support the growing worker and student movement to get police in their various forms off campus and end all collaboration with institutions of organized violence, including local and state police forces, DHS, FBI, and ICE. Police on campuses undermine the safety of especially working-class BIPOC students and workers. Police also protect universities’ profit-driven projects that gentrify the surrounding areas, which in turn leads to higher police presence, often in poor, working-class, and primarily-BIPOC neighborhoods. The millions of dollars that the federal, state, and local governments invest in policing and surveillance should be used instead to fund services like free, safe, and comfortable housing, public transportation, mental health care, child care, and other life-affirming services that contribute to the safety of everyone on and off campus.

The fight for cop-free campuses must extend beyond the focus on individuals with badges to the many other university workers who have been tasked with implementing the agendas of the institutions of organized violence. This includes a range of campus “security” officers as well as the other educational workers who are deputized with the prerogatives of the police. We must reject all forms of policing both on and off campus and refuse to act as police in our own work, and our unions must end all support for cops and their unions.


Signed,

AFT locals:
1   UFAS 223

AFT caucuses:
1   Rank-and-File Temple Caucus - TAUP 4531
2   Rank and File Action - PSC 2334
3   Rank-and-File Educators of Wisconsin Instigating Reform and Empowerment (REWIRE)

AFT members:
1   Max Avener - TAUP 4531
2   Larisa Kingston Mann - TAUP 4531
3   Wende Marshall - TAUP 4531
4   Rob Naborn - TAUP 4531
5   Debi Lemieur - TAUP 4531
6   Carol Jean Gallo - TAUP 4531
7   Corinna Mullin - PSC 2334
8   Sami Disu - PSC 2334
9   Kelley Collings - PFT 3
10 John Schultz - TAUP 4531
11 Autumn Zellers - TAUP 4531
12 Sam Allingham - TAUP 4531
13 Conor Tomás Reed - PSC 2334
14 Sofya Aptekar - PSC 2334
15 Ariane Fischer - TAUP 4531
16 Naomi Taback - TAUP 4531
17 Gregory Wolmart - TAUP 4531
18 John Paetsch - TAUP 4531
19 Francesca Gomes - UFT 2
20 James Dennis Hoff - PSC 2334
21 Leo Parascondola - William Patterson University 1796
22 Susan Bertolino - TAUP 4531
23 Jacob Kurtz - DFT 231
24 Maria Lograsso - DFT 231
25 Ralph Fortune - PTU 958 (retired)
26 Hakan Yilmaz - PSC 2334
27 Mary Stricker - TAUP 4531
28 Ken Ehrlich - UC 1966
29 Jason Schulman - PSC 2334
30 Stuart Chen-Hayes - PSC 2334
31 Ryan Eckes - SFT 2275
32 Carol Quirke - UUP 2190
33 Leanne Finnigan - TAUP 4531
34 Ali Shehzad Zaidi - UUP 2190
35 Indrayudh Shome - PFT 3
36 Melissa DeGezelle - TAUP 4531
37 Connor Jordan - PFT 3
38 Clare Michaud - UFAS 223
39 Katherine Charek Briggs - UFAS 223
40 Jason Lee - UFAS 223
41 Barret Elward - UFAS 223
42 Dan Fitch - UFAS 223
43 Patrick Kimutis - GEO 6300
44 Jess Draws - UFAS 223
45 Barbara Ferman - TAUP 4531
46 Andrew Turner - UFAS 223
47 Hannah Eldridge - UFAS 223
48 Amy Hilgendorf - UFAS 223
49 Chenxi Wu - UFAS 223
50 Lydia B Roussos - UFAS 223
51 Tyrell Haberkorn - UFAS 223
52 Benjamin Plunkett - UFAS 223
53 Anthony Flynn - TAA 3220
54 Christina Koch - UFAS 223
55 John Mulvihill - UFAS 223
56 Eric Lohman - TAUWP 3535
57 Marybeth McGinnis - UFAS 223
58 Kate Diamond - UFAS 223
59 Scot McCullough - WPEC 4848
60 Geoffrey Cureton - UFAS 223
61 Leanne Fan - PSC 2334
62 Lauren Gantz - SPARC 6505
63 Kelly Krein - UFAS 223
64 Karl Broman - UFAS 223
65 Matty LaGro - UAP 9608
66 Elizabeth Held - PFSP 111
67 Ami Tian - PSC 2334
68 Gus Tupper - UC 1474
69 Caitlin Shanley - TAUP 4531
70 Hammam Aldouri - TAUP 4531
71 Ralf Youtz - PCCFFAP 2277
72 Jesann Gonzalez Cruz - GEO 6300
73 Anne Marie Esposito - GEO 6300
74 Jasmine Clark - TAUP 4531
75 Cristóbal Martinez - GEU 6196
76 Lauren Whitmer - GEO 3550
77 Doug Singsen - TAUWP 3535
78 Ilan Desai-Geller - UFT 2
79 Marianne Madoré - PSC 2334
80 Russ Elliott - CTU 1
81 John Holmes - PFT 1603
82 Gorkem Dagdelen - TAUP 4531
83 Martha Williams - MFT 59
84 josh dubnau - UUP 2190
85 Beth E. Wilson - UUP 2190
86 Peter Ikeler - UUP 2190
87 Russell Weiss-Irwin - CTU 1340
88 Ben Balcom - TAUWP 3535
89 Kathryn Anderson - CTU 1340
90 Marcus Cederstrom - UFAS 223
91 Linda Huber - GEO 3550
92 Elliott Brannon - GEO 3550
93 Dominique A. Bouavichith - GEO 3550
94 Amir Fleischmann - GEO 3550
95 Yasmin Schamiloglu - UFAS 223
96 Caroline McCraw - TAA 3220
97 Diane Farsetta - UFAS 223
98 Jeff Horowitz - GEO 3550
99 Alejo Stark - GEO 3550
100 Aevi van der Stok - TAA 3220
101 Rob Timberlake - TAA 3220
102 David Helps - GEO 3550
103 Lauren Olsen - TAUP 4531
104 Donna-Marie Peters - TAUP 4531
105 Ann Finkel - BTU 66
106 Bryce Kieren Healy - MLSA 4928
107 Ben Pettis - TAA 3220
108 Ashley Trudeau - TAA 3220
109 Kyle Daruwalla - TAA 3220
110 Vera Leone Brown - TAA 3220
111 Angela Ablaberdieva - TAA 3220
112 Alejandra Canales - TAA 3220
113 Maiya Zwerling - UC 1474
114 Devan Shea - UC 1474
115 Delaney Green - UC 1474
116 Cam Clark - UC 1474
117 Brian Ward - MFT 3497
118 Rob Oakley - TUGSA 6290
119 Susan Nossal - UFAS 223
120 Monica Berrier - Stout United 6503
121 Daniel Szyld - TAUP 4531
122 Dana Wanzer - Stout United 6503
123 Rachel Wallace - UC 1474
124 Adrian George - TAA 3220
125 Phil Gasper - AFT 243
126 I-Wei Wang - UC 1474
127 John Davies - TAUP 4531
128 Jacqueline Kociubuk - TAA 3220
129 Michael Harvey - TAUP 4531
130 Edward Poneman - TAUP 4531
131 David Lee - TAUP 4531
132 Celeste Winston - TAUP 4531
133 John Walker - TAA 3220
134 Toni Waldron - Salem Teacher's Union 1258
135 Kendra Levine - UC 1474
136 Julia Michelle Tanenbaum - UFAS 223
137 Ruth Meadow-MacLeod - TUGSA 6290
138 Shelley Blondeau - UFAS 223
139 Jamie Gratrix - UFAS 223
140 Tessa Price - UFAS 223
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