Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Wayne J. Urban
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) was founded in April 1916. Although local teacher associations had been started as early as in the 1890s, and while some local associations had affiliated directly with the American Federation of Labor (AFL), the AFT was founded as a national teachers union, affiliated with the AFL, and has remained so since its founding. As in most labor unions, however, the local organization is the most important factor in the lives of members. It was three different local associations in Chicago, Illinois, and the local organization in Gary, Indiana, that united to form the AFT, though the local organization in New York City quickly became prominent alongside of its midwestern peers. The post–World War I period was a time of optimism and increasing organizing for the AFL, the parent of the AFT, as it sought to build on organizational gains made initially in wartime when ...