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February 8, 2019
Food

Victory! National teachers union rejects junk food marketing in schools

American Federation of Teachers event in Pittsburgh

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has taken a historic step forward to challenge a junk food behemoth at the rotten core of our industrial food system: McDonald’s. At its recent meeting, AFT passed a resolution to reject all forms of junk food fundraisers in schools, including McDonald’s McTeacher’s Nights. It’s the first national-level teachers union to do so—representing more than 1.7 million educators nationwide.

The resolution calls for AFT to demand corporations, including McDonald’s president and CEO, end junk food fundraisers. In addition, the resolution directs AFT to educate its members on the negative effects of corporate fundraisers, encourages teachers not to participate in the events, and calls for educators to support policies and legislation that further protect children from junk food marketing – compelling other institutions to follow suit.

This is a significant and highly visible escalation of pressure on McDonald’s. For decades, the corporation, has used tactics like McTeacher’s Nights, and the little money they give back to schools to buy undeserved goodwill from teachers in order to enter schools and market its junk food. With this resolution, a critical mass of educators are recognizing this exploitation and calling for an end to these marketing tactics that harm our students. And it was made possible in part by thousands of people like you, who took action to support AFT and its educators.

Over the last two years, the movement of parents, students, health professionals, educators, and more challenging McDonald’s predatory marketing to kids has racked up victory after victory. With the support of thousands of people like you, the Los Angeles Unified School District passed a policy ending McTeacher’s Nights. Then the statewide California Federation of Teachers rejected McTeacher’s Nights; AFT Michigan followed suit.

Wins like these put enormous pressure on McDonald’s to change its predatory marketing tactics like McTeacher’s Nights, which exploit teachers’ free labor to sell junk food to kids. These tactics are at the core of a business model that, for decades, has driven an epidemic of diet-related disease and the breakdown of our food system.

Together, we’re winning. You can amplify the news of this victory by sharing this post on Facebook and Twitter.  And help us keep up the momentum—download our toolkit to learn how you can get involved ending McTeacher’s Nights in your own community.