American Federation of Teachers’ Union

Report on The Union

American Federation of Teachers was formed in 1916, and Charles Stillman served as the first president. The need for United States educators led to the union’s development to address the teaching profession (Cain, 2017). The union’s major core goals involved ending child labour, advocating for equality in educating learners, and ensuring teachers’ needs are satisfied. Like other labour relations, the union finds ways to solve all challenges facing educators and personnel working in the school environment. The union contains 828,512 members since it started its operation (Marianno & Strunk, 2018). Members involve educators, non-professional health care providers, and other personnel working in learning institutions. The union is determined to gather information from all schools in the United States to ensure teachers’ problem facing during the teaching process is assessed and solved. The union has improved the wellbeing of teachers and other members working in schools through best coordination and consultations processes.

The union’s organizational structure is designed based on a hierarchical leadership model. It is led by the president and deputy president, who are elected by union members. The American Federation of Teachers is divided into five divisions classifying educators from lower to higher levels, including health care and other services providers working in learning institutions. American Federation of Teachers holds meetings chaired by executive members and representatives presenting all five divisions’ work (Marianno & Strunk, 2018). Every meeting is structured to provide solutions to occurring problems that affect teachers in their respective teaching environments. The union is designed to address all issues raised by members through divisional preventatives. American Federation of Teachers uses decision-making strategies to develop long-lasting solutions to problems facing members. Since the union became operational, it has eradicated child labour in learning institutions and increased teachers’ general welfare. The united states labour relations department has ranked the American Federation of Teachers as best performing among many labour unions.

Legal Disputes That the Union Has Been Involved

American Federation of Teachers Involvement in Opposing Acts Spoiling Academic Freedom

The rigidity and stubbornness of different school boards interfered with freedom of education in 1960, whereby private school boards added the cost of school fees to parents. The regime of depriving freedom of education was prominent during McCarthy’s time. American Federation of Teachers and school boards were the main parties involved in the disputes (Cain, 2017). Apart from the abuse of the education rights act, which advocates for affordable education costs to all citizens in the United States, school boards became more defensive to arrogant teachers who violated policies developed under the union based on how teachers should behave and conduct themselves in school. Therefore, denial of education freedom by different school boards and charging parents exorbitant and abnormal fees led to the conflict.

American Federation of Teachers moved to court opposing additional fees charged by different learning institutions based on the constitutional act that guarantees administration of learning centres to set fair, reasonable education fees. However, the union provided evidence in the supreme court expressing how abnormal fees were charged by different schools (Shelton, 2018). According to the union’s view, charging parents’ extra fees with threats of preventing their children from accessing promotional exams to different learning levels deprived freedom of education in the United States. The union also raised concerns about the unpleasing behaviour of educators in various schools. The dispute was solved through a mediation process whereby all school principals assembled in the union headquarters to find the solution to depriving education freedom. School administrators agreed to reduce fee charges and ensure teachers were not stubborn while performing their delegated duties through the mediation process. Provision of higher quality education to learners at an affordable cost was the positive outcome after mediation agreements were put in practice by school boards. Since 1960 teachers have developed ethical models of addressing issues other than arrogant behaviour.

Conflict Between American Federation of Teachers and The Federal Government Based on Rural Area Learning Institutions

In 1970 the union started the struggle towards developing learning institutions in rural areas by suggesting that the federal government deduct half of the finance allocated in developing urban centre schools. The union president described the effect of avoiding decentralization of schools whereby the predicted future increase of school dropouts. Congress opposed the union’s president’s suggestion with the constitution view that demanded equal distribution of resources (Marianno & Strunk, 2018). The conflict between the two parties was prolonged for one year during budget allocation towards the education sector. However, the federal government remained reluctant about the issue. The constitutional budgetary allocation was followed in allocating finances towards schools’ development as urban education centres were added more money than rural schools.

American Federation of Teachers developed different approaches towards developing more schools in rural areas by initiating rural school development funds, which involved political leaders and other stakeholders. The union’s major role was to ensure all learners could access schools without travelling for several miles. The struggle for developing more schools in rural areas encouraged the federal government to employ more teachers to work in rural areas (Marianno & Strunk, 2018). Later the federal government reserved funds to boost rural education, which came out as a positive outcome from the union’s fight in developing education centres in rural areas. Since 1970, many learning institutions have been developed in rural areas.

American Federation of Teachers Dispute Towards Reforming Education to Include Educators

Education reforms in the united states were initiated by the American Federation of Teachers, which called for teachers’ involvement in decision-making concerning education matters. The government excluded teachers from expounding their views on the teaching process. The teacher movement, directed by the union developed a dispute with the ruling government in 1980. Conflict developed between the union and the government because the learning process was disrupted due to strikes that lasted for three weeks (Cain, 2017). Lecturers joined the movement supporting education reform whereby teachers’ needs should be addressed for proportionate decisions involving all parties to be made.

Commencement of the mediation process between the union and the federal government started to end future strikes. The two parties made agreements whereby teachers’ needs involving salaries, allowances, and other necessities were addressed, and immediate response was given. American federation of teachers was given a chance to represent teachers in nationwide decisions regarding education matters and budgetary allocation learning institutions. The mediation process eradicated teacher strikes in the united states since every issue was addressed (Cain, 2017). The mediation created reforms in education that motivated teachers who had given up with the teaching profession. Education reforms in 1980 increased the quality of education in the united states since teachers’ views and recommendations were followed in curriculum development. However, education reforms led to the development of well-informed decisions that allowed curriculum changes to fit learners’ needs.


Cain, T. R. (2017). For education and employment: The American Federation of Teachers and academic freedom history. In Perspectives on the history of higher education, 19(7), 218-426.

Marianno, B. D., & Strunk, K. O. (2018). After Janus: A new era of teacher’s union activism. Education Next, 18(4), 18-26.

Shelton, J. (2018). Teacher unionism in America: Lessons from the past for defending and deepening democracy. American Educator, 42(1), 30.

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