The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) was founded in 1916 by classroom teachers who believed that the National Education Association (NEA), founded in 1857, did not represent teachers who were interested in negotiating for better salaries, professional working conditions, and the protection of basic civil rights such as free speech and political participation. Early organizational efforts were led by activists in Chicago, such as Margaret Haley, and by Henry Linville in New York City. Linville became the first president of the AFT, and John Dewey became an honorary member. The AFT became a union under the broad umbrella of the American Federation of Labor led by Samuel Gompers. Today, it is an affiliated international union of the AFL-CIO with more than 3,000 local affiliates ...

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