Randi Weingarten is president of the 1.4-million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal employees; and early childhood educators. She was elected in July 2008, following 11 years of service as an AFT vice president.
In the months immediately following her election, Weingarten launched major efforts to place education reform and innovation high on the nation's agenda. In September 2008, Weingarten led the development of the AFT Innovation Fund, a groundbreaking initiative to support sustainable, innovative and collaborative reform projects developed by members and their local unions to strengthen our public schools.
As a member of the AFT executive council since 1997, Weingarten has been involved in every major AFT policy initiative of the last decade. She also served on the AFT executive committee and its democracy committee, and headed the professional compensation committee. She has acted as an emissary for the national AFT in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Weingarten previously served for 12 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, and for 10 years chaired New York City's Municipal Labor Committee. She worked as a lawyer for the Wall Street firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan from 1983 to 1986. Weingarten holds degrees from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Cardozo School of Law.