2014 AFT Michigan Convention Summary
We had an engaging and energizing 73rd Convention in Detroit on May 17, 2014. Highlights included:
- Being led in singing the national anthem and Solidarity Forever by the Lansing LaborNotes Chorus (members of MSU-GEU, Local 6196);
- Welcomes from Rick Blocker, President of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO and Karla Swift, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO;
- Recognizing the member and community organizing efforts of the Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers, Local 9102, with the AFT Michigan President’s Award;
- A discussion of the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education led by several of our community partners that led into an interactive group process of delegates writing a resolution on race and equity in our work;
- Celebrating the new locals who organized over the last two years, as well as those leading the way in raising political action dollars;
- Honoring Ellen Hoekstra and Lois Lofton-Doniver (more below) for their years of outstanding service to our union and the labor movement;
- Interacting with Mark Schauer (the next Governor of Michigan) and Gary Peters (the next U.S. Senator from Michigan) at our Education Town Hall;
- Post-Convention solidarity with an Underground Railroad Tour and a reception hosted by the League of Extraordinary Educators; and
- Sunday brunch with AFT President Randi Weingarten and community allies!
2014 Convention Resolution Next Steps
The Convention passed a number of resolutions that will guide our policies and actions moving forward. You can find links to the full text of each resolution above. As a union, we committed to:
Build the League of Extraordinary Educators so that we have at least 500 core activists ready to mobilize for Lame Duck in December.
- Help convene a coalition around non-partisan redistricting (in place for 2020).
- Higher education locals working with student groups and other allies to document student debt and questionable financial practices on our campuses as part of a coordinated effort to document and reverse the privatization of higher education.
- Produce an “Issue Brief” on enhancing Career Technical Education in collaboration with members and allies of these programs, while also coordinating with the national around Perkins Act reauthorization.
- Produce an “Issue Brief” on alternatives to High Stakes Standardized Testing and work with community partners to coordinate campaigns around testing throughout the state.
Encourage members to boycott Staples and work to pass a similar resolution at the national AFT convention in July.
- Increase local involvement in central labor councils around the state.
- Encourage locals to ensure that AFT and AFL-CIO are part of all “branding.”
- Find opportunities to build cross-local solidarity through collaborative work.
- Develop ongoing programming around issues of race & equity in education, including “teach-ins” and community “days of action.”
Congratulations to Secretary-Treasurer Lois Lofton-Doniver
A highlight of the Convention was honoring our Secretary-Treasurer, Lois Lofton-Doniver, with the Walter Bergman Human Rights Award. Lois will be retiring this summer after serving as Secretary-Treasurer since 2001. Delegates honored her not only for her service to our state federation, but also her work in the community, political action, professional development, and the labor movement as a whole.
Constitutional Amendment and Election Results
Delegates approved the proposed amendments to the AFT Michigan Constitution, which included an increase in per capita dues, establishment of Reclaiming the Promise and Building Funds, and a housekeeping change to Convention dates.
2014-16 Administrative Board
David Hecker, President
Edna Reaves, Secretary-Treasurer
Keith Johnson, Detroit Federation of Teachers (also AFT Vice President)
John McDonald, Henry Ford Community College Federation of Teachers (also AFT Vice President)
Ruby Newbold, Detroit Association of Educational Office Employees (also AFT Vice President)
Sonya Alvarado, Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers
Ivy Bailey, Detroit Federation of Teachers
Michelle Cook, Hamtramck Federation of Teachers
Bonnie Halloran, University of Michigan Lecturers’ Employee Organization
Vicki Honeycutt, Northville Federation of Para Educators
Donna Jackson, Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals
Michelle Kirk, Melvindale/North Allen Park Federation of Teachers
Thomas Kostrzewa, Western Michigan University Professional Instructors’ Organization
Sylvia Marques, Michigan State University Graduate Employees’ Union
Linda Moore, Taylor Federation of Teachers
Brandon Moss, Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff
Wendy Newberry, Detroit Federation of Teachers/Retiree
Charles Parrish, Wayne State University AAUP-AFT
Steven Portnoy, Detroit Federation of Teachers
Dawn Roberts, Macomb Community College Faculty Organization
Michael Schenk, Detroit Federation of Teachers
LaShawn Sims, Detroit Federation of Teachers
Christine Sipperley, Dearborn Federation of Teachers
Chris Skovron, University of Michigan Graduate Employees’ Organization
Lincoln Stocks, East Detroit Federation of Teachers
A big thank you to all those who served on committees and volunteered to make our 73rd Convention such a success!