A union for union employees? It might seem odd, but interns with the American Federation of Teachers formed a union Wednesday, making them the first non-medical intern union in the nation.
In a press release, AFT President Randi Weingarten congratulated the interns. "We respect the decision of the American Federation of Teachers interns to form and vote for a union — the first intern (nonmedical) union in the nation. As an employer that pays interns a wage, and as a union that believes in workers' right to organize, we know that people are more likely to succeed when they have a real voice on the job. Our interns have been invaluable, and we look forward to an ongoing, productive relationship with them and their union."
The interns' union will fall under the Office and Professional Employees International Union, which represents 104,000 members and falls under the umbrella AFL-CIO union federation.
Sarah Levesque, recording secretary of OPEIU Local 2, spoke with the Washington Examiner about the interns' decision to unionize. They were motivated not by low wages or a poor working environment; rather, the interns feel like they're a part of the labor movement and wanted to take steps to solidify that feeling. "Everybody wants something better," Levesque said.