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Season 4, Episode 183

Central Alabama AFT fighting anti-union actions and a lack of staff



Guest Name:

Erika Hughes

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President of the Central Alabama American Federation of Teachers, Erika Hughes, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to describe the growing issues with staffing in Alabama schools. Hughes also discussed the fight for proper, transparent funding and the anti-union actions in Mobile County.

There is an ongoing fight with teacher and staffing shortages in Central Alabama. Teachers and support staff are being asked to go above and beyond the normal needs of the job. Many teachers report a lack of respect from administrators, students and parents. Hughes described several factors teachers are facing that she believes is contributing to the staffing shortage in Alabama.

Several of the Alabama school districts have not been providing the resources to the schools to properly fund their work and staff. One example is the year-long fight in the Bessemer School District where there have been major questions about the direction of the public spending in the district. Hughes described a situation in Bessemer where they spent $1 million on a summer school course. She believes their priorities are not in line from the teachers to the administrators, and until they get on the same page, there will not be any changes.

In Mobile County, the superintendent is ignoring the union leadership and refusing meetings with teachers in the union. Recently, the superintendent banned the 40,000 book donation from AFT’s Reading Opens the World project because a few books in the giveaway were deemed controversial. Hughes said. After receiving a lot of bad press, Mobile’s Mayor brokered a deal between the two sides. The superintendent was provided a complete list of books and would only accept titles he approved. Eventually, a little over half the 40,000 books were accepted, Hughes said.

To hear more about the situation in Central Alabama, press play on the episode above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

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