On Oct. 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced major changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, finally addressing the serious problems AFT members have faced in accessing student loan forgiveness. This is a game-changing victory for educators, healthcare professionals and public employees and will allow millions of Americans to discharge their student debt sooner, offering them increased economic mobility and access to opportunities to thrive.
During the 2021 regular legislative session, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 551, one of AFT-Oregon’s priority pieces of legislation. This bill makes employee-only healthcare benefits available to qualifying part-time faculty members at public institutions of higher education (both universities and community colleges) – giving them the same coverage opportunities that full-time faculty members receive.
Teachers at the Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA) in North Bend voted overwhelmingly to form a new union, the ORVA Educators United (OEU). The National Labor Relations Board oversaw the election results on Thursday, with over 80% of ORVA’s teachers voting to form the new union.
AFT-Oregon President Jaime Rodriguez issued the following statement:
“Today we mourn the sudden passing of AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka. President Trumka was the son of a miner who rose to the highest level of labor leadership. He was a dedicated advocate for workers of all sectors. The middle-class, workers and labor have lost a great friend today. I hope we have learned from him that solidarity and the rights-of-workers are not privileged, but must be bargained for annually. My condolences and prayers go out to the Trumka and labor families.”
After a long and illustrious career, Belinda Reagan has retired as President of Portland Federation of School Professionals (PFSP), AFT Local 111. AFT-Oregon wishes to thank Belinda for her years of service to both PFSP and AFT-Oregon.
NORTH BEND, OR — Teachers at the Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA) in North Bend today presented a petition to the Board asking for recognition of their newly formed union, ORVA Educators United (OEU). The petition, signed by nearly 80% of ORVA’s teachers, asks the Board to voluntarily recognize the new union at its next meeting on Tuesday, June 8.
OEU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, formed because teachers seek a real voice in decisions to improve student success and to be able to collectively bargain over issues like equity, transparency, competitive compensation packages, and increased workloads. These conditions have resulted in instructor turnover rates above 20% annually.
AFT-Oregon is relieved that the policeman who murdered George Floyd is being held accountable, and hopeful that this verdict will be a sea change moment in the struggle for equal justice for all people. We also recognize that this verdict is not justice.
Organizations representing Oregon community college and university students, faculty, and staff applaud portions of Governor Kate Brown’s Recommended Budget (GRB) for the 2021-23 biennium while cautioning more resources will be required to avoid major negative impacts.
The GRB includes important new investments in part-time faculty health insurance and programs enhancing success for underserved students, while protecting financial aid. Although the GRB matches the 2019-21 legislatively-approved budgets for the Community College Support Fund (CCSF) and Public University Support Fund (PUSF), not