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AFT President McElroy To Retire

According to the below email, AFT president Ed McElroy is going to retire this summer:

""Both McElroy and LaCour will continue to serve in their current capacities until the July 2008 AFT national convention in Chicago, where more than 2,000 delegates will vote for AFT president, secretary-treasurer, executive vice president and 39 vice presidents. The winning candidates will assume their posts immediately."

It's not an unexpected move.  Rumor has it NYC local president Randi Weingarten is the front-runner to run the union.

American Federation of Teachers President Edward J. McElroy and Secretary-Treasurer Nat LaCour today announced their plans to retire from leading the 1.4 million-member national union.
Both McElroy and LaCour will continue to serve in their current capacities until the July 2008 AFT national convention in Chicago, where more than 2,000 delegates will vote for AFT president, secretary-treasurer, executive vice president and 39 vice presidents. The winning candidates will assume their posts immediately.
McElroy has served as AFT president since 2004. He was secretary-treasurer for 12 years prior to that, during the presidencies of Albert Shanker and Sandra Feldman. Since December 2001, he has been a member of the AFL-CIO executive council. He began his career as a social studies and English teacher in Warwick, R.I., and was elected president of the Warwick Teachers Union in 1967. At the age of 30, he became president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, two positions he held until 1992, when he came to Washington, D.C.
During McElroy’s 16-year tenure as a national officer, the AFT has added more than 500,000 new members nationwide. Under his direction, the AFT dramatically expanded its member-to-member political outreach efforts, including the creation of the Activists for Congressional Education (ACE) program, through which AFT members forge relationships with their congressional delegation. Due to these and other programs, nearly 80 percent of AFT members currently are registered to vote, and hundreds of thousands are politically active in their communities.

Through efforts targeted at the local, state and national levels, McElroy has made enhanced communications a union-wide priority, as well as emphasizing the importance of helping affiliates develop internal capabilities to perform key functions. Under his leadership, the AFT initiated multiple programs through which AFT state federations receive assistance to strengthen their capacity. In 2002, the AFT created the Solidarity Fund, a political vehicle for states to counter initiatives that seek to cripple public education, bargaining rights and hard-earned benefits such as healthcare and pensions.

McElroy’s dedication to the labor movement reaches beyond U.S. borders. He has been recognized for his active involvement in the international democratic trade union movement, serving on the boards of Education International and the National Endowment for Democracy.

“From my time as a newly minted junior high school teacher, I knew that being a part of the AFT would help me make a difference,” said McElroy. “And it has—from improving conditions for teaching and learning, to lobbying for issues important to AFT members and those they serve, to giving professionals a voice on the job, the AFT makes a difference. It has been a tremendous honor to serve my entire career as part of this fine union.”
John J. Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, praised McElroy and LaCour for their service on the AFL-CIO executive council, as well as for their accomplishments on behalf of the AFT. “Ed and Nat are outspoken and effective champions for their members,” Sweeney said. “But what sets them apart is their unselfish concern for members of other unions, workers without the benefit of union representation, and people for whom every day is a struggle. Ed McElroy and Nat LaCour are leaders for whom solidarity is not a slogan; it is a guiding principle that orders their priorities.”
LaCour is the first to hold the post of AFT executive vice president, a position to which he was elected in 1998. In 2004, he was elected AFT secretary-treasurer and became a member of the AFL-CIO executive council. Prior to coming to Washington, D.C., LaCour led the United Teachers of New Orleans for 28 years, a union that under his guidance in 1974 became the first teachers union in the Deep South to obtain a collective bargaining agreement with a local school district—notably accomplished in a state without a collective bargaining law.
As chair of the AFT Organizing Committee, LaCour led the development of a new organizing model based on specific benchmarks that can be adapted to virtually any type of organizing campaign. The model stands at the forefront of the AFT’s national labor organizing efforts.
LaCour is a founding member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and sits on several other boards, including those of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. LaCour has led the AFT Disaster Relief Fund, which is a union-wide effort to assist members and their families affected by catastrophes, such as Hurricane Katrina.
“I have seen what can be achieved through the union under the most difficult of circumstances,” LaCour said. “I started my career trying to surmount the lack of collective bargaining for school employees, and I end it working to overcome the devastation of a natural disaster made worse by human indifference. With my brothers and sisters in the AFT, we have moved mountains, and I know the AFT will continue this good work.”
The 80th American Federation of Teachers national convention is scheduled to be held July 10-14, 2008, at the Navy Pier in Chicago.
Complete biographies of McElroy and LaCour can be found at www.aft.org/about/officers.

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