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ERIC Number: EJ1021026
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
The Bargaining Table and Beyond: How the AFT Came to Support Labor-Management Collaboration
Kugler, Phil
American Educator, v37 n4 p36-40 Win 2013-2014
When he first came to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in 1973, reports Phil Kugler, there was no such thing as labor-management collaboration. It was a term he had never heard of, and no one used it. Back then, the focus was on supporting local unions in their struggles to win collective bargaining rights. At the time, teachers were fighting to achieve basic rights just to organize, so the priority was on establishing locals and helping them achieve the pay, benefits, and working conditions that teachers demanded and deserved as professionals. Growing up in the labor movement during the 1950s and 1960s, Kugler says "we could not have predicted that a major focus of this great union would eventually be on strengthening labor-management relations." Kugler provides insight into the "building bridges" period between 1950 through the 1970's that saw the need to move labor-management collaboration forward, with the union and forward-thinking superintendents, who were then in a minority. Local leaders needed to think about ways in which they can support friendly superintendents who understand the value of collaboration and engagement. Kugler further reports on the forward movement of a successful partnership between AFT and the teachers union, based upon mutual respect, strength, and stability of leadership on both sides. The AFT's most important concern, he concludes, is ensuring that every child receives a high-quality education. Even in the current climate, which is often hostile to unions and critical of educators, educators must continue to remind the public of the overriding commitment that teachers have to this notion of students being the best they can possibly be. The teacher voice needs to be respected and listened to, for teachers are the education experts.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A