The AFL-CIO has granted NEA locals the ability to affiliate with the labor federation through its central labor councils and state federations. The AFL-CIO/NEA Labor Solidarity Partnership, crafted in consultation with the AFT, establishes a procedure enabling NEA locals to apply, through the NEA, for affiliation with the AFL-CIO at the local, state and national levels. "This new partnership has the potential to strengthen the local labor movement and to help union members work together in addressing their concerns," said AFT president Edward J. McElroy in a message to AFT vice presidents and state federation leaders last week. This partnership, however, is for NEA locals, he noted, and does not mean that the national NEA is affiliating with the national AFL-CIO. Both will remain independent organizations. The AFT has been working with the AFL-CIO throughout this process and has discussed the proposed partnership at meetings with AFT state federation leaders and executive council members over the past several months. The AFL-CIO executive council approved the partnership Feb. 27 at its winter meeting. The NEA board of directors okayed the agreement earlier this month.