AAUP and AFT Affiliate in Historic Partnership

By Mariah Quinn

Delegates to the June 2022 Bien­nial Association Meeting voted overwhelmingly to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO. The affiliation, which went into effect August 1, builds on our partnership of more than a decade with the AFT and strengthens both organizations, while ensuring that the AAUP will maintain its independence and autonomy. Together, we represent more US higher education workers than any other union.

The long-term organizing partnership has been good for the AAUP and the AFT, resulting in increased unionization in Research 1 and flagship institutions, with thousands of faculty members being jointly represented by the AAUP and the AFT. Through the affiliation, the AAUP and the AFT will build a stronger, more inclusive movement, fighting back together against threats to higher education, including austerity, attacks on knowledge and exper­tise, and increased legislative intrusion into the academy. The AAUP has the expertise to con­front these threats, and the AFT has the resources at the national and state levels. Working with the AFT, we can ensure that AAUP professional standards and princi­ples are recognized and respected on more campuses. Importantly, through our affiliation with the AFT, we will be affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and our collective bargaining chapters will have affil­iations with AFT state federations—organiza­tions with clout in state capitals and in Wash­ington, DC. You can find information about the affiliation at https://www. aaup.org/about/aaupaft-affiliation, where we will add information about AFT member benefits in the coming months.


I am a long time member of AAUP and a one-time member of the Steelworkers' Union. My concern about the affiliation is that it constitutes and abandonment of the concept of the university as a community of scholars, and a reinforcement of the notion that teachers are primarily employees of a business owned by someone else. Responsibility for the curriculum and for peer and student evaluation should not be bargained for, but recognized as crucial.

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