Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
American Federation of Teachers
Carol F. Karpinski
Founded in 1916 by teacher locals from Chicago, Gary (Indiana), New York City, Scranton (Pennsylvania), and Washington, D.C., the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is a union representing 1.3 million teachers and educational support personnel in more than 3,000 local and state affiliates. Based on a labor union model, the AFT had its charter signed by Samuel Gompers, of the American Federation of Labor, which represented primarily skilled workers. Margaret Haley, a sixth-grade Chicago teacher, headed the Chicago teacher local, which was one of the founding groups. At the onset, the militancy that became characteristic of the AFT was hardly apparent, since the cooperation among all educational employees dominated its rhetoric and policy on teacher welfare. Notable educators and academicians such as John Dewey and Albert Einstein have been members of the AFT. The formative years of the AFT were characterized by division between the factions in the Midwest and ...