MEA-MFT's History

MEA-MFT is the union created when the Montana Education Association and the Montana Federation of Teachers merged September 1, 2000. 


MEA-MFT is one of the oldest advocacy groups in Montana.  Frontier educators first organized MEA in 1882.  MFT traces its roots to a short-lived effort to organize faculty at now the University of Montana in 1918 and a successful and permanent beginning in 1934 among public school educators in Butte and Anaconda.


Read more about MEA-MFT's history and our proud record of achievements for Montana's people, working families, public schools and services, and the middle class. 


Chronology of the MEA-MFT merger

Jim McGarvey
Jim McGarvey, a huge part of MEA-MFT history, died unexpectedly in August 2012. We miss him.

Eric Feaver wrote this farewell to Jim.

J.C. Weingartner wrote this great tribute to Jim.

Former MEA-MFT Executive Director David Smith wrote this editorial, which was printed in most of Montana's major dailies.

The American Federation of Teachers created this oral history of Jim McGarvey in 2007.

Below are photos of Jim McGarvey at his AFL-CIO retirement party, May 13, 2011. Also pictured are Jim's wife Suzanne, MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver, national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Montana U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, Montana AFL-CIO President Jacquie Helt, and other friends.