Open the link here to read Randi Weingarten’s speech to the AFT Convention.

Here is a summary from the AFT:

Weingarten’s State of the Union address zeroed in on the three crises facing America—a public health crisis, an economic crisis and a long-overdue reckoning with racism. She detailed how these crises are being made worse by President Trump and emphasized the urgency of the November elections, not only to defeat Trump but to elect Joe Biden and reimagine America.

“Activism and elections build the power necessary to create a better life, a voice at work and a voice in our democracy. Activism changes the narrative, elections change policy, and, together, they change lives,” said Weingarten.

Weingarten honored the 200 AFT members who have died in the line of duty, and the hundreds of thousands who have protected, cared for, engaged and fed our communities during the pandemic. But those efforts have been met with reckless inaction by the Trump administration and some state officials who have failed to provide either a plan or adequate resources as community spread has skyrocketed.

While safety and education needs are front and center in many of America’s 16,000 school districts, and states such as New York have curbed the virus and published strong reopening plans, Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have embraced virus denialism and waged a weekslong campaign to force reopening with threats and bluster.

In her speech, Weingarten unveiled a resolution passed by the AFT’s 45-member executive council backing locally authorized “safety strikes”—on a case-by-case basis and as a last resort—to ensure safety amid the absence of urgency by federal and some state officials to tackle the coronavirus surge.

“Let’s be clear,” Weingarten told delegates. “Just as we have done with our healthcare workers, we will fight on all fronts for the safety of our students and their educators. But if the authorities don’t get it right, and they don’t protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve, nothing is off the table—not advocacy or protests, negotiations, grievances or lawsuits, or, if necessary as a last resort, safety strikes.”

Weingarten said the union’s members want to return to school buildings for the sake of their kids’ learning—and the well-being of families—but only if conditions are safe. And that requires planning and hundreds of billions of dollars in resources the Senate and the administration have refused to provide.