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The most common complaint that is shared with us concerning the work environment is the amount of stress at the workplace. After sending out a survey to our union members asking what topics would they like for a workshop at our annual union conference, we were not surprised that stress related issues was #1 on the results. To address the issue, we invited Dr. LaRocque to present at our conference. 

Dr. Rosalind LaRocque​, AFT Associate Director of Educational Issues, presented a workshop entitled Managing Stress at our Annual Conference on Saturday. Dr. LaRocque stated, "Stress is imminent when


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Unions Begin With YOU!

While on union business in Carbon County, I spent some time with a volunteer at the Mining Museum in Helper, Utah. This gentleman, as a young man, personally knew my great-grandfather and other members of my family that lived and worked in the coal mine located in Kenilworth. As he gave me a grand tour of this fantastic and historical museum, I caught my breath as I entered a room dedicated to unions and those leaders that protected the rights of these hard working men and women of Carbon County.

I was drawn to a photograph of miners that had just come out of the darkness after their shift into the sunlight. I recollect my grandfather telling me how he used to walk to the mine entrance by the light of his carbide headlamp before dawn only to emerge hours later to the brilliant sunlight of the afternoon. My guide shared with me the stories of my great-grandfather, a Swedish immigrant, and how kind he was to everyone in the community. How hard he worked and as a timber boss how important his job was to ensure the safety of all the workers. He also shared the dark times when the community was put under martial law by state officials who called in the National Guard to break up the union. A curfew was set and anyone having lights on after 10:00 p.m. or found outside their homes would be arrested and beat. No matter the attempts to disband their union, they stood firm as a union family. When there was an explosion and workers died, they would rally as a community to comfort and provide for the needs of the loved ones left behind. My family members lived, bled, and died to provide a life for their families in those mines, and each of them were proud, strong, and active union members and supporters.

Jump forward 76 years. I carry the blood of those union members. I am their legacy. As I gazed at a sign hanging on the wall in that museum with the words “Unions Begin With YOU! ” I could literally hear the words of my great-grandfather echoing in my mind, “It’s up to YOU to make a difference.” That’s the heart of our union. You make the difference in your workplace, in your community, in your state. Each of us have to decide how involved we want to be. No one can make that choice for us. Once we commit to be involved, we find others in order to form and unite as a union family. Just as the union members came together in solidarity to protect each other and their families in this small mining community in Eastern Utah, we as union members should come together in solidarity.

Many of our colleagues shy away from joining the union. Our opponents use the same tactics that have been employed for over a century to discourage workers from organizing. As in the past, our union is vital to protecting our rights today. In fact, unions are more important than ever in ensuring that our collective voice is heard. The more I have thought about the current condition of AFT in Utah, I have come to the realization that we have not held the course. We have tried to fit in with the status quo. We have a long proud history as a union in Utah. In 1919, the public school employees in Ogden organized a chartered AFT local. They faced extreme backlash from anti-union officials and their own district administration. Other locals sprang up for the next several decades under difficult circumstances and persecution. Yet they held up under the pressure and remained union proud and union strong. They only diminished when they moved away from their union roots and that tight knit union community.

So I propose we get back to the basics. We look, act, and function as a union! In our Annual Member Meeting and Delegate Assembly on Saturday June 24, 2017 we will start the process. YOU are personally invited by me to attend. (RSVP Here) It’s up to each of us to keep our heritage and legacy alive.

As I did that day, in that special room, in a small museum in Helper, Utah you have my commitment that I will do all in my power to keep our union alive and help you in your commitment to our cause.

In Solidarity,

Brad Asay


AFT Utah


Betsy DeVos visits Utah, AFT protests

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. Sec. DeVos was invited to speak at the ASU+GSV Summit. During her speech, a group of protesters rallied outside the hotel speaking out against the Secretary’s aggressive anti-public education agenda. AFT Utah was proud to be numbered among that group of protesters. AFT Utah President, Brad Asay, was a scheduled speaker at the rally. Brad stated the following, “Ninety percent of our kids attend public schools yet Secretary DeVos would do all that she can to actually privatize our schools with the voucher system…[Utahns] support public schools, not privatization, not vouchers, not austerity measures” (Desert News, published May 9, 2017).

Around 100 community members and public education supporters gathered to show their displeasure for privatization and recent policies put into place by Secretary DeVos. It’s our duty as union members to stand up in the face of adversity to protect our profession and to protect our students. Without our voice as professionals, Corporate America will attempt to capitalize on our education system at the expense of our students. We MUST fight to keep business out of public education.

AFT Utah’s Annual Membership Meeting and Delegate Assembly

We are excited to announce our upcoming Annual Membership Meeting and Delegate Assembly. It will take place on June 24th at 10:00 a.m. at the Utah Labor Center, 2261 South Redwood Road, in Salt Lake City. As seen in our posts on Facebook and via e-mail, refreshments, drinks, and lunch will be provided at this meeting. There will also be door prizes and drawings for attendees. If you wish to be a delegate for your local, please contact your local Presidents, or the AFT Utah office (801)972-1974, or

There is a minor business portion of this meeting, but the majority of time will be focused on rebranding ourselves as a union. The theme of our member meeting is Empowering “U”. We will be discussing practices and strategies to ensure each of you are the voice and face of our Union. We’ll be discussing changes and gathering input of how we will present ourselves as a union. We need to lead out in defense of public and higher education employees, not be part of the status quo. Empowering “U”, represents protecting working families in addition to standing in solidarity with AFT locals across the nation. We are union proud and union strong, and represent the only labor union for public and higher education.