AFT’s Weingarten and Johnson on the Events in Ferguson, Mo.

Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten and Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson on the St. Louis County (Mo.) grand jury decision in the police shooting death of Michael Brown:

“Tonight, the fact remains that on Aug. 9, an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed. Given that we are a nation of laws, one can only hope that the lack of an indictment isn’t tantamount to any lack of zeal on the part of the prosecutor to do the job he was supposed to do to enable the grand jury to arrive at an impartial and fact-based decision. Having said that, tonight’s decision isn’t the last word in seeking justice for Michael Brown, as the Justice Department is still pursuing its investigation. We echo the calls of the Brown family, clergy and Gov. Nixon for peace, restraint and protection for peaceful protesters.

“This case once again reminds us that there is still much work to be done to achieve racial justice in America. It tells us that our moral compass and legal systems do not always align.

“In moments like these, we should redouble our efforts to ensure all children grow up in safe communities with high-quality neighborhood schools and a local economy rich with jobs—no matter their ZIP code, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

VOTE Tuesday, November 4

votevote 3

UUP Calls for Addressing Climate Change in Massive March

P1090696x

The People’s Climate March was a march for the ages, and UUP was a part of it.

Dressed in blue T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Climate Justice,” more than 40 UUP members joined hundreds of thousands of their labor sisters and brothers, environmental activists, students, actors, musicians, and other demonstrators calling for curbing climate change in the Sept. 21 march.

More than 310,000 people marched in the Manhattan protest; organizers, who expected about 100,000 participants, called the event the largest climate march in history. It dovetailed with climate change marches worldwide.

The march went off just days before a Sept. 23 U.N. summit in New York City on climate change.

“It’s imperative that we’re here,” said UUP President Fred Kowal. “I think what we’re trying to do is to bring some healing about for the planet and for our students because they’re going to inherit this world.” MORE

UUP: Loud and Strong in NYC Labor Day Parade

P1090648

UUP President Fred Kowal said he wanted UUP to march in the 2014 New York City Labor Day Parade to demonstrate the union’s strength to politicians, candidates, unionists and anyone who was watching.

Mission accomplished, and then some.

More than 300 UUP members, along with family members and friends, marched proudly up Fifth Avenue, joining thousands of unionists from New York City and across the state in the parade.

Members fell in behind UUP President Fred Kowal and the union’s statewide officers, chanting and waving signs that said “Speak Up for Workers” and “Labor Works for You.” They smiled, waved and even blew kisses on a sweltering, humid day with temperatures in the mid-90s.

There were no complaints, only gritty determination as members, wearing red UUP shirts, marched 17 blocks up the sun-drenched avenue, handing pencils to parade goers who cheered as they walked past.

“We’re showing our strength, our solidarity, and our willingness to literally take to the streets in defense of the work that we do,” said Kowal. More