It’s been a busy start to the 2017-2018 session of the Michigan Legislature. As you’ve seen in earlier emails, we already have accomplished our first big victory by defeating a state revenue cut which would have blown an annual $1 billion hole in our state’s budgets for education, public safety, infrastructure, and vital public services. Twelve Republicans joined the overwhelming majority of the House Democratic Caucus to oppose the bill. We encourage our members to thank legislators for their opposition by using the action tool put together by our allies at the Michigan League for Public Policy. Click here to send a thank you letter.
We owe this victory to our work to build relationships and hold our elected officials accountable. We’ve already held many meetings with legislators, made hundreds of phone calls, and sent thousands of emails to legislators to stand up for the schools our students deserve and for an economy that works for working people.
Bill Tracking — We’ll continue keeping you updated with pressing information on what’s happening in Lansing, and continue our calls to action. You can find the current list of bills AFT Michigan is tracking by clicking here. We will update this at least biweekly when there is legislative activity, and more often as necessary.
Legislator Office Hours — The most important thing we can do as citizens is communicate with our elected officials about our values and needs. To that end, we encourage our members to attend coffee hours with their state legislators. Lists of publicly available scheduled office hours can be found here. If office hours for your legislator are not listed or not scheduled, we encourage you to ask their office when their next event will be, or to schedule an individual appointment.
If you do meet with your legislator, please let me know how it goes! Or, if you’d like help setting up a meeting or discussing how to have an effective meeting, I can be reached at (313) 393-2200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give to the AFT Michigan Political Action Committee
In fulfilling our mission to strengthen worker voice, advance the institutions in which our members work, and build a progressive movement committed to achieving these goals, AFT Michigan is active politically and legislatively. This means supporting candidates and elected officials who support us.
We cannot use dues dollars to support campaign committees, which is why many of our members choose to support the AFT Michigan PAC fund.
We don’t need to match the DeVos family and other corporate special interests dollar-for-dollar. But if more members like you step up now, we can level the playing field and help boost a roster of candidates who will put our public schools first.
Sign Up to Attend the Michigan Progressive Summit on March 4 (We’ll pay your registration fee!)
The 2017 Michigan Progressive Summit is an opportunity to come together and gain new skills, learn how to organize our communities, meet other progressive people working to create positive change, and find out how to get more involved in the progressive movement. Together, we can build a Michigan that works for all of us. Lunch will be provided.
AFT Michigan is proud to be on the planning committee. We are excited for a day where progressive activists can network, learn about issues, and develop skills for building the progressive movement.
Breakout sessions will cover topics including: racial, economic, environmental, and social justice, Islamaphobia, immigrants’ rights, women’s health, public education, ACLU projects and advocacy, communications trainings, state and local politics, and organizing training.
Click here to register. AFT Michigan will reimburse the $25 registration fee for any dues-paying member who attends the Summit–just stop by our table on March 4 and submit a reimbursement form.
AFT Michigan and the Michigan Education Association will work together to facilitate two breakout sessions during the Summit:
- The Corporate Take Over of Your Public School: Understanding the History and Future. Expanding charter schools, cyber schools, and “school choice”, limitations of school employee bargaining rights, high stakes standardized testing, funding diversions, are all steps toward converting public schools to for-profit corporations. Learn about the corporate interests that were behind all of this and what they intend to do next.
- Skills for Resisting the Corporate Take Over of Your Public School. This is a skill-developing workshop to understand and influence current power structures for public education decision-making, including local school boards, university boards, the State Board of Education, and the Michigan Legislature. The workshop will incorporate targeting and power-mapping, relationship development with elected officials, tactics for influencing election officials, strategies for building coalitions amongst teachers and faculty, school support employees, parents, and community organizations. The workshop will emphasize approaching organizing and mobilizing strategies from a values framework using strong personal and community narratives.