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NEA - AFT Partnership

The nation's two leading education organizations, NEA and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), formed the NEA-AFT Partnership out of a commitment by both organizations to work together on behalf of our members and on behalf of all those whom our members serve.

As separate organizations and through the Partnership, the NEA and AFT are committed to nurturing and improving public education above all. We are determined to fight for family needs, which must be met in order to make our public schools the equalizer they have been and should be for society. This encompasses quality of life issues, such as health care for all Americans, safe neighborhoods and a caring government.

The Partnership leaves each organization free to differ and to conduct each organization's work separately and independently, but enables the two groups to work together in a new relationship focused at every level of our organizations on common interests we share about critical educational issues and issues of vital significance to children.

Introduction

Because our members are on the front lines of the future of America, and because our work and our values are rooted in the well-being of the children of this nation and their families:

NEA-AFT Partnership

The NEA-AFT Partnership shall leave us free to differ and to conduct each organization's work separately and independently, but it shall bring us together in a new relationship focused at every level of our organizations on common interests we share about critical educational issues and issues of vital significance to children.

The NEA-AFT Partnership is the recommendation of the NEA and AFT Unity Discussion Teams and Advisory Committees, which met between September and December 2000.

The NEA-AFT Partnership shall have the authority to make decisions and to advance common goals, but it shall be required to operate in conformity with policies and directives of the governance bodies of NEA and the AFT. The NEA-AFT Partnership shall provide the two organizations with a common front in dealing with critical educational and social issues. It shall also advocate, support and coordinate mutually agreed upon national, state, regional and local activities.

The NEA-AFT Partnership shall be directed by a joint council, which shall be composed of 15 representatives from each organization, including the executive committees of each organization. The activities of the NEA-AFT Partnership shall be jointly funded and staffed by the AFT and NEA, and the council shall meet at least three times per year. The AFT and NEA shall be responsible for their own expenses and staff assignments. The NEA-AFT Partnership shall establish clear measures of accountability and explicit checkpoints at which the organizations shall assess progress of joint activities and change direction as needed.

NEA-AFT Partnership Goals and Projects

Common goals and projects of the Partnership could include:

1. Advocating for interaction and collaboration throughout the organizations—at local, state, regional and national levels by:

  1. Developing models for and facilitating interactions at all levels to increase joint action on issues of common concern
  2. Using the expertise of leaders, staff and consultants to facilitate work on joint projects at all levels
  3. Facilitating opportunities for members of NEA and the AFT to learn about their counterparts in the other organization and its affiliations—at local, state, regional and national levels. These interactions shall be designed to build relationships between the organizations at all levels.

2. Engaging in joint projects on issues of mutual interest by:

  1. Holding jointly planned and executed conferences on substantive topics of common interest; following up with joint activities at all levels
  2. Creating opportunities to learn and work together on issues of mutual concern, such as teacher quality, professional development, technology and school safety
  3. Creating opportunities for joint staff collaboration and training
  4. Coordinating legal actions
  5. Coordinating legislative actions
  6. Creating joint national publications and/or including sections within existing national publications to present issues of common concern and to report on joint activities
  7. Achieving collective bargaining rights in non-bargaining states
  8. Fostering conversation and joint activity among corresponding constituency groups in each organization
  9. Coordinating joint political education and information
  10. Working to achieve appropriate funding for public education.

3. Increasing cooperation by:

  1. Assisting states and locals in joint organizing ventures
  2. Developing joint strategies to counteract anti-union competing organizations and initiatives
  3. Creating forums and opportunities for learning about the experiences of merged states and locals.
  4. Coordinating, with the appropriate AFT and NEA departments, the ongoing delivery of services to AFT-NEA merged states and locals.