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AFT Membership Rises to 1.6M; Growth Mostly In Non-K-12 Categories

Los Angeles

AFT membership has risen to 1.6 million members, the union said, but those increases are largely in fields other than K-12 classroom teachers.

According to documents provided by AFT, the union has increased by 64,000 numbers since the 2012 convention. 

Here's a look at some of where the growth has happened: 

  • About 30,000 nurses in Montana, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington state; 
  • About 19,000 home-based early childhood workers, in New York City;
  • 7,000 members through the recent North Dakota NEA/AFT merger; 
  • 1,200 charter school teachers;
  • 11 new higher education bargaining units;
  • 1,200 workers at the United Nations.

Members pay different dues based on categories. The largest increase is in the category of members who are working, laid-off or on unpaid leave, with about 45,000 new individuals. But growth in the retiree category represents about 23,000 retired members, or about a third. 

Finally, what interesting about this is that most of the growth is not in AFT's K-12 division, but in other ones representing other public employees. The NEA has continued to lose members, in part because it has had a harder time organizing in other areas. That union now stands at slightly below 3 million members. 

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