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Teachers Union signs solidarity agreement with AFL-CIO

04.02.10

APRIL 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Teachers Union signs solidarity agreement with AFL-CIO

BY NANCY KRAKE
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, March 14th- The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Harrisburg, announced they have signed a new solidarity agreement.

AFL-CIO President William George and PSEA President Jim Testerman, the state’s largest school employee union, signed the labor solidarity partnership agreement on March 9th at a Harrisburg news coverence.

“We believe it is in the mutual best interest for the PSEA and our local affiliates to participate in the broader labor movement through joint efforts with the AFL-CIO and its affiliates at the national, state and local levels. The strength of unions working to improve the lives of working Americans is in our solidarity. We support each other. Today we re-affirm to the members of the AFL-CIO and they re-affirm to us your fight, your struggle is ours also,” said Mr. Testerman.

Phone messages to Mr. George from the newspaper were not immediately returned regarding this story.

“Unions continue to play a critical role in our society, and one that extewnds well beyond those people who pay dues. Unions give workers a voice through the collective bargaining process to shape decisions regarding compensation and benefits, working conditions and job security. Almost always, the result is higher pay and better benefits, safer working conditions and greater job security for their members, just as it has been throughout the history of the labor movement,” added Mr. Testerman.

The two labor organizations have been working toward a agreement for several years. In 2006, the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly enacted a new business item authorizing NEA local affiliates to become members of the AFL-CIO local labor councils and state federations. The agreement will allow for greater cooperation and participation by PSEA local affiliates in the AFL-CIO central labor councils including serving as officers.

“The advantages of joining together are obvious. We will be able to conduct more effective campaigns in politics and legislation, in our community services programs and in educating workers about the benefits of belonging to unions,” said Richard Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union. Mr. Bloomdale will likely replace Mr. George as the leader of the labor federation in April, 2010.

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