The American Federation of Teachers held its biennial convention in Pittsburgh this month. Fresh off the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that public unions can’t charge fees to non-members — a break from long-held practice that will cost labor millions in revenues and untold membership losses — conventioneers were defiant.
“This is our moment. This is our movement,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten in her keynote address to delegates.
She supported her optimism by announcing that membership levels were at an all-time high. AFT claims 1,755,015 members, with growth that has been uninterrupted even by the 2008 recession.
But AFT’s membership numbers require a lot more scrutiny and interpretation than do those of the National Education Association.