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Season 5, Episode 31

The true importance of DEI and Florida’s attack on public unions

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Guest Name:

Fedrick Ingram

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aft.org 

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As a part of our Black History Month coverage, Fedrick Ingram, Secretary Treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss his experiences with unions and how he got to his current position. Ingram also talked about the true significance of diversity in schools and Florida’s attack on public unions.

Ingram came from a family led by union bus drivers, both his parents drove city buses as members of Transit Workers United Local 291 based in Miami Dade County. Because of their union jobs, they were able to help Ingram earn a higher education, getting him out of inner city Miami and making him the first in his family to attend college. After college, Ingram immediately began teaching in Miami, becoming a United Teachers of Dade member, where he spent the first 10 years of his career. Later, Ingram was elected President of the Florida Education Association and simultaneously served as a Vice President of the AFT until 2020, when he was elected Secretary Treasurer of the AFT.

The impact of students having black teachers does more than just improve a diversity number. Ingram discussed why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives are more than just statistics. By becoming more diverse, you include more students in the educational process and create an equal opportunity for each student to have a positive educational experience, he said. Included in the goal to diversify, the AFT has been giving out over 1 million books for free to students across the country as part of the union’s Reading Opens The World initiative.

There have been several attempts to attack public sector unions in America, but the most prominent may be the attack on Ingram’s home Local, UTD. Florida Gov. Ron Desantis signed an anti-union law that would decertify all public sector unions if they cannot meet the 60 percent threshold for yearly certification. Ingram went into more detail about the law and what it requires public unions to do to stay certified. Ingram said that it’s part of a national effort to eliminate public sector unions, but thankfully, there’s been pushback against these laws, and he feels there has been a more significant push to join unions, showcased by the AFT’s success in organizing 83 new units in 2023.

Learn more about the importance of having a diverse teaching staff by listening to the show 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.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.

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