Skip to content

Teachers – volunteer this summer to help other teachers

March 22, 2010 am31 3:50 am

The American Federation of Teachers will again be running its “Back to School” program this summer. Teachers go South to help ongoing AFT organizing efforts.

I did it. Twice. Last summer I went to East Texas. We signed up brand new members. Many teachers did not belong to a union. Some were members of a “professional organization.” Some NEA. Some AFT. Many belonged to nothing. And we signed them up, and converted. But not so many. The year before, New Orleans. New Orleans was solid union once. But then Katrina came and did what they are trying to do all over now:  they fired them all, made them reapply – but to a mix of turnaround schools and charters. And we went door to door, signing up members, former members, now working at a patchwork of schools controlled by different charter groups, and by different government agencies.

In both cases I met interesting people, met teachers, learned about teaching in a different part of the country. The AFT put me up, paid for the car rental and meals, took care of any training.

It was work, no mistake. But with a reward. Well worth it. Will I do it this summer? I don’t know. But you should. Two weeks, helping teachers, expenses paid… if you can’t, you can’t. But if you can… it’s not a lot to give, just two weeks, but it will be appreciated. Do it:

2010 Back-to-School Organizing Campaign

Change is coming. Are you part of the action?

When you volunteer to join the corps of organizers heading south this summer for the AFT’s back-to-school union-building campaigns:

You Give—

  • Two weeks of work and dedication, with long and irregular hours.
  • The benefit of your union experience, and your personal story of what motivates you to be an active union member.
  • Empowerment to colleagues struggling against anti-employee and anti-union hostility.

You Get—

  • A unique experience and relationships that last a lifetime. Valuable union-building skills.
  • The satisfaction that comes from helping those in need.
  • The knowledge that you are building union power for the benefit of us all.

What is the program?

When you join the 2010 AFT Back-to-School Organizing Campaign as a volunteer organizer, you are signing up for a two-week (at minimum) stint of hands-on new-member organizing in Southern states like Alabama, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas.

What qualifications do I need?

The readiness and willingness to get involved. We provide the skills training, coaching and coordination—you bring the desire.

What will this cost me?

The AFT pays for your transportation and housing, provides a meal allowance, and covers incidental expenses.

General Info

  • Please indicate on the application when you are not available in July and August. This will help us find a site that will work for you. The program is two weeks long, always leaving on a Saturday.
  • You must have a valid driver’s license.
  • The weather—most of the locations are in the southern summer heat & humidity. Dress appropriately and stay hydrated!
  • Hours—the days are long, but interesting. A typical day can consist of early morning visits and evening meetings.

Travel/Car Rental/Airline

  • You will receive your airline, hotel and car rental information from the AFT travel department.
  • Your airline ticket (if you have e-mail) will be an electronic ticket sent to your e-mail.
  • If you do not have e-mail, your airline ticket will be mailed to your home.
  • Car Rental—You will pick up your car at the airport. Please do not purchase car rental insurance, refueling service, GPS navigation unit. Please do not provide frequent flyer to the car rental company.


  • Your meal expenses will be reimbursed up to $65.00 per day. You must provide an itemized receipt—not the credit card copy—for reimbursement.
  • You must keep your receipts (including e-ticket & boarding pass) and document all expenses in the AFT Expense Booklet that will be provided.
  • Expenses are forwarded to the AFT headquarters for processing. You will receive your reimbursement check at your home address within ten days or less upon receipt.

Visit to apply • Toll-free: 800/238-1133, ext. 4466 • E-mail:

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: