July 14, 2014
Over 40 HPAE delegates participated in the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) national convention, held in Los Angeles from July 11 to July 14. A total of 2732 delegates attended, representing 441 local unions and 29 state federations.
AFT currently has over 1.6 million members. While K through 12 public school teachers and higher education faculty comprise the majority of the members, HPAE is part of a growing AFT Healthcare division.
HPAE President Ann Twomey spoke to the convention delegates out about the importance of healthcare issues. She talked about how HPAE is leading the fight in NJ against for profit healthcare and for safe staffing.
At the AFT Healthcare breakfast on Saturday morning, delegates honored Theresa Brown, an RN who wrote the book Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between, a chronicle of her first year in nursing. Theresa also writes about her experiences for the New York Times.Photo at right: Local 5089 members at the breakfast.
The convention was not just speeches, receptions, meetings, and business sessions. Late Saturday afternoon, HPAE joined hundreds of convention delegates near the Staples Center to protest an agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples to put post offices in Staples stores – a move that jeopardizes thousands of unionized postal service jobs.
Photos below: President Twomey and Candice Owley, President of AFT Healthcare in Wisconsin; HPAE members, including Local 5091 President Jeff Peck, at the protest.
On Monday, the final day of the convention, HPAE Vice President Bernie Gerard presented the resolutions of AFT's healthcare committee and Shelly Crowe, Grievance Chair of Local 5186/Christ Hospital, spoke in favor of a resolution that asserts that patient care should be the primary goal of healthcare, not profits.