In Historic Vote, 21,000 Oregon School Workers Affiliate with the AFT
Victory strengthens longtime union partnership
MORE THAN 21,000 school employees represented by the Oregon School Employees Association have affiliated with the AFT, the largest affiliation of an independent union in AFT history.
The margin of victory for mail-in ballots counted Feb. 4-5 by the League of Women Voters was 85 percent, overwhelmingly endorsing a recommendation by OSEA leaders. "I have long believed that both the AFT and OSEA would be stronger together than apart," says AFT president Edward J. McElroy. "I am delighted that OSEA members agree."
The vote caps a decade-long process in which the AFT made a deep commitment to OSEA. "The opportunities, the resources, the doors that are going to open for us" have multiplied, says OSEA president Merlene Martin.
Lorretta Johnson, chair of the AFTs paraprofessionals and school-related personnel division and an AFT vice president, notes that the affiliation was a long time coming but "worth every minute of the wait."
OSEA and AFT already have worked together on many projects. …