A captive crowd of PreK-12 and higher education faculty and staff gathered Aug. 16 for the AFTNJ Activist Conference at the Rutgers Labor Education Center in New Brunswick.

“If I had to pick a theme for this meeting today,” AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera said in her opening remarks, “a lot of it’s going to be political [and have to do with] where we’re going to be in the next couple of years.” Later, in the “Setting Political Priorities” session, she reminded attendees that “we need to be at the table with language and solutions.”

Rutgers University professor Todd Vachon, an AFTNJ higher education vice president, spoke about the Rutgers Labor Education Action Research Network program (LEARN), for which he’s the director. (View some of LEARN’s 2023-24 course offerings here.) AFTNJ staff representative Jennie Shanker co-hosted a session about unemployment benefits for adjunct faculty. (She offered to conduct follow-up workshops for interested union locals over Zoom.)

Other featured speakers included AFT’s Alver Franklin, who talked about Connect, Hustle and other available data programs, and Samantha Galing, whose session addressed creating political power.

To view a photo gallery from the AFTNJ Activist Conference, click here.

ABOVE: Rutgers LEARN director Todd Vachon looks on as AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera speaks during the AFTNJ Activist Conference on Aug. 16 in New Brunswick. (Photo by Chris M. Junior)

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