NEA President Addresses AFL-CIO
President Dennis Van Roekel speaks out on the importance of unions in rebuilding the nation’s middle class.
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel joined other prominent labor and political leaders, including President Barack Obama, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Caroline Kennedy, in addressing the 2009 AFL-CIO quadrennial convention this September in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In a powerful speech, Van Roekel urged labor leaders to rebuild the middle class by strengthening the labor movement.
“In the 20th century, we created the middle class that included a majority of Americans—a first in the history of the world,” said Van Roekel. “Today, that way of life is threatened. We need strong unions not only to fight for better contracts for our members but to serve as counterweight to the powerful interests that have skewed and distorted our economy over the past three decades.”
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions and represents 11 million members, including 2.5 million members in Working America, its new community affiliate.
Also this fall, President Van Roekel journeyed with Vice President Joe Biden, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) President Richard Iannuzzi on Air Force Two to Syracuse, New York, for a tour of that city’s Martin Luther King School to observe its “Say Yes to Education” program. Van Roekel and Iannuzzi also served on a college access and affordability panel at Syracuse University led by Vice President Biden, as chair of the White House Middle Class Task Force.
NEA’s 28th annual higher education conference will convene in San Francisco, California, March 26-28, 2010, at the Palace Hotel. The theme of the conference, to be held jointly with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), is: “Advancing Higher Education in Unpredictable Times.” Online forms for conference registration and hotel reservations are available at www.nea.org/he.
Leadership Day: “Challenges of Leadership: Engaging and Mobilizing Our Members,” is March 25 and is open to NEA and AFT members and affiliate staff. Pre-conference activities include the annual membership meeting of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), on Thursday evening and again on Friday morning.
The NEA Higher Education Web site has been redesigned and integrated into the overall NEA.org Web site. Please visit the new site www.nea.org/he and take a look around. The site includes an overview of the higher education program and other helpful information. If you see something missing, let us know, so we can retrieve it. Just e-mail MarkSmith@nea.org.