Overview of The American Federation of Teachers

Topics: World War II, United States, Russia Pages: 2 (534 words) Published: October 15, 2012
The American Federation of Teachers was founded in 1916 by eight local teachers. However, the American Federation of Teachers had lost majority of their members by 1920. The union fought hard for tenure laws for long standing teachers as well as teachers who were being sought after for having differing views and beliefs than those in the political arena especially during World War I. Over time, strength in the union’s leadership helped more members to join and saw a climb from less than 5,000 in 1920 to 32,000 in 1939. The union was able to move to collective bargaining in the 1940s. In fact, the first strike for the teacher’s union occurred in November 1946 and lasted for 38 days. Over time, the American Federation of Teachers grew to become the second largest union in the United States (AFT History, 2012). Although the American Federation of Teachers has been successful over the years, they have not been without legal troubles and obstacles. One of the first issues was the investigation of teachers by political committees because of their beliefs. This event was known as the Red Scare hysteria. During World War I, tensions were mounting between the Soviet Union and the United States. There was a perceived threat that Communists were infiltrating the United States (Red Scare, 2012). Also during this time, obstacles continued to mount with low salaries and economic insecurity. Furthermore, female teachers had a dress code that required them to wear skirts at a certain length, keep their galoshes buckled, and they were not allow to have dates more than three times a week (AFT History, 2012). The American Federation of Teachers encountered many obstacles, but they have been able to overcome these issues through perseverance. The benefits of joining the American Federation of Teachers are easy. Although the union used to be for teachers, it has opened to other professionals such as local, state, and federal government jobs as well as healthcare...
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