One of the many strengths of AFT Michigan is our diversity. We are diverse in many ways including the work we do. AFT Michigan has four divisions-Teachers, Support Staff, Higher Education and Public Employees. These members have much in common—their commitment to their work and their demand to be treated with respect. We learn from each other. We support each other. We know what is best for each of us, is what is best for all of us. We are truly A Union of Professionals.
Pre K 12 – Teachers
AFT Michigan represents about 35,000 members in nearly 100 locals spread throughout Michigan. Of the our locals, about one-third are primarily composed of pre-K-12 teachers. About 20 percent of locals represent teachers in the Intermediate School Districts and adult education programs. Teachers are a large segment of our membership.
AFT Michigan, in conjunction with the AFT, offers a variety of services of special interest to teachers.
AFT Michigan offers classes, workshops, and conferences to assist teachers with their professional development. Some of the topics offered include: Effective Classroom Management, Managing Anti-Social Behavior, Strategies for Resolving Conflict, Common Core State Standards – Math & ELA, and general overview, Mental Health First Aid, Bullying Cycle, Protecting Students in Cyberspace; Warning Signs of Sexual Misconduct PK-16, Diversity Training, Home School Connection, and others. Check out the calendar for which classes are currently being offered.
AFT Michigan is a provider for State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH), which are required for continuing certification.
In addition, AFT Michigan works closely with teachers who are pursuing National Board Certification to offer mentoring and support.
AFT Michigan, working with the AFT, also offers our members and locals additional professional development programming including summer institutes and national conferences, and the Education Research and Dissemination Program (ER&D) which offers the latest research into what works in our classrooms.
In addition, AFT Michigan provides training on leadership development, bargaining and administering a contract and other topics related to running a local union.
Legislative and Political Action
Virtually every aspect of a pre K-12 teacher’s job is controlled or influenced by the state legislature and Congress. Everything from our school’s funding, the curriculum we teach, to the standardized tests we give, length of our workday and school year, our personnel files and our pension system is the result of decisions made by elected officials. AFT Michigan maintains a strong presence in Lansing, lobbying lawmakers on issues of concern to our membership. We work with our locals to keep members informed about issues moving through the legislature and encourage members to become involved in the political process.
We are active politically, conferring with members of congress, the state legislature and school boards, and work to elect people who support public education and educators.
Teachers and Staff in Charter Schools
Teachers and staff in charter schools are joining together to build a network in which they can share ideas, pool professional resources, and speak out on important issues affecting their students, their schools, and their profession.
The Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff (Michigan ACTS) is a local union affiliated with AFT Michigan that represents hundreds of members in Metro Detroit Charter Schools. Michigan ACTS has won contracts that improve job security, protect educator voices and ensure fair compensation.
Our chapters include:
- The Arts Academy in the Woods Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (AAW ACTS)
- Cesar Chavez Academy Alliance of Teachers and Staff (CCA ACTS)
- James & Grace Lee Boggs School Alliance of Teachers and Staff (Boggs ACTS)
The AFT publication American Teacher is sent to every member of a pre K-12 teacher local. It contains news about the union, discussion of current issues in education, information about discounts and other member benefits. The AFT Michigan web site is an excellent source of current information about the union, the legislature, and the professional development offerings, as well as the AFT Michigan Facebook page and Twitter feed. For immediate news and activities please sign up for the AFT Michigan email list by clicking on the “Sign up to Become an AFT Activist” box on this page.
Working with leaders from across the state, we have developed a PreK-12 Public Education Issue Platform. The purpose of the platform is to list the issues we think are critical needs that should be addressed in the legislature and other state bodies. The platform is shared with all candidates for public office on the state level and from the platform we focus our legislative action.
Visit the Teachers Division of the AFT Website.
AFT Michigan Paraprofessionals and School Related Personnel (PSRP)
AFT Michigan represents about 35,000 members in nearly 100 locals across the state. Of those locals, about one-third represent paraprofessional and school related personnel (PSRP) members. The PSRP membership includes classroom paraprofessionals, school secretaries, central office clerical staff, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, plant engineers, reading aides, vocational and technical personnel and special education aides among others. AFT Michigan, in conjunction with the AFT, offers a variety of services of interest to PSRPs.
AFT Michigan believes that PSRPs need, and deserve, professional development opportunities. AFT Michigan professional development and union leadership program includes a PSRP conference and numerous workshops on PSRP issues. Recent topics have included leadership training, stress management, working with medically fragile children, how children learn to read, Common Core State Standards and working with diverse students. In addition, AFT Michigan provides training on how to run a union, bargain and administer a contract and other topics. The AFT offers programs directly dealing with PSRP issues.
Legislative and Political Action
Virtually every aspect of a school employee’s job is controlled or influenced by the state legislature and Congress. Everything from our school’s funding, to the length of the school year, the licensing or certification required, our personnel files and our pension system is the result of decisions made by elected officials. Moreover, the state legislature can, and has, limited our ability to fight privatization of our jobs. AFT Michigan maintains a strong presence in Lansing, lobbying lawmakers on issues of concern to our membership. The AFT does the same in Washington, D.C. We work with our locals to keep members informed about issues moving through the legislature and encourage members to become involved in the political process. We are active politically, conferring with members of congress, the state legislature and school boards, and work to elect people who support public education and school employees.
The AFT publication PSRP Reporter is sent to every member of a PSRP local. It contains news about the union, discussion of issues of concern to PSRPs around the country, information about discounts and other member benefits. The AFT Michigan web site, Facebook page and Twitter feed are an excellent source of information about the union, the legislature, and the professional development offerings. For immediate news and activities please sign up for the AFT Michigan email list by clicking on the “Sign up to Become an AFT Activist” box on this page.
PSRPs in AFT Michigan
AFT Michigan has a guaranteed seat for a PSRP member on our Administrative Board and maintains a permanent PSRP Committee which includes representatives of all PSRP locals.
AFT Michigan Higher Education Locals
AFT Michigan represents about 35,000 members in nearly 100 locals throughout the state of Michigan, and about one-third of our locals include higher education members. Our higher education members include administrative staff, graduate employees, non-tenure track faculty, tenure-track faculty & academic staff at public community colleges and universities across the state of Michigan.
Legislative and Political Action
Community colleges and universities depend on legislative action for a significant portion of their funding, among other issues.
AFT Michigan maintains a strong presence in Lansing, lobbying lawmakers on issues of concern to our membership, while the AFT lobbies in Washington, D.C. We fight for adequate funding, limits on the excessive use and exploitation of part time faculty and staff, and the faculty’s role in collegiate governance. We work with our locals to keep members informed about issues moving through the legislature and encourage members to become involved in the legislative process.
We are active politically, conferring with members of congress, the state legislature and college and university boards, and work to elect people who support higher education and higher education employees.
Download a copy of the AFT Michigan Higher Ed Platform here.
The AFT and AFT Michigan offers programs dealing with higher education issues and with topics related to leadership development. The AFT has an annual higher education conference, conducted by our national union’s higher education department.
The AFT publication On Campus is sent to every member of each higher education local. It contains news about the union, discussion of issues of concern in higher education around the country, information about discounts and other member benefits. The AFT Michigan’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed, including David Hecker, AFT Michigan President’s Twitter feed, are excellent sources of information about the union, and the legislature. Additionally, AFT Michigan maintains a list-serve for members of our higher education locals.
Higher Education within the AFT Michigan
AFT Michigan has guaranteed seats for graduate employees, nontenure-track faculty, and tenure-track faculty on our Administrative Board. AFT Michigan maintains permanent committees for Graduate Employees, Nontenure-Track Faculty and Tenure-Track Faculty & Academic Staff which include representatives of all relevant higher education locals.
Our newest members! AFT Nurses and Health Professionals was created in 1978 when the AFT constitution was amended to allow organizing and affiliation of healthcare workers. The division represents more than 112,000 health professionals who practice in a variety of disciplines and settings. Although more than half of our members are registered nurses, the division also represents medical researchers, physicians, dietitians, psychologists, X-ray technicians, therapists and others.
Healthcare within AFT Michigan
Our first healthcare local was formed by the physician assistants at the University of Michigan in 2020 and organizing of other healthcare workers continues. AFT Michigan has a guaranteed seat for a Healthcare local leader on our Administrative Board. As we grow in this area, we will develop a constituency committee and state legislative agenda.
AFT Michigan Retiree Network
Retirees are an important part of AFT Michigan and the AFT as a whole. Under the AFT and AFT Michigan constitutions all working members of the AFT become lifetime members of the national union once their local reports them as retired. This lifetime membership status entitles them to receive AFT Michigan and AFT publications free of charge, to participate in the AFT Plus Member Benefits programs, and to participate as delegates to state and national conventions through local retiree chapters. There is no per-capita payment to the AFT for retired members.
In 2001 a group of retired local presidents, leaders of local retiree chapters and other AFT Michigan activists met to discuss what kind of organization would best serve the needs of thousands of retired AFT members. While it would be ideal for every AFT Michigan local to have a retiree chapter, most locals would be too small to sustain a viable chapter. Thus it was decided that a statewide organization would be most effective and the AFT Michigan Retiree Network was established.
The primary purpose of the Retiree Network is to provide a communications link with members who have retired, to keep retirees informed and offer a means to exchange ideas and mobilize around issues that contribute to the well being of retired and active members.
The goals of the Retiree Network are:
- Retiree mobilization
- Keep retired members informed
- Improve health and pension benefits
- Work with AFT Michigan on retirement issues
- Help locals form retiree chapters
A committee of AFT retirees governs the network and directs the committee’s activities. An AFT Michigan staff person helps promote the initiatives of the organizations. The organization remains open at all times to new ideas and welcomes participation by interested retired members.
Two of the main methods the AFT Michigan Retiree Network has of communicating with members is through the Retiree Network web page http://Retirees.AFTMichigan.org and the e-mail Retiree Bulletin. You sign-up for the Retiree Bulletin on the front page of the web page.
The web page provides retired members with information and links to numerous sites geared to retirees and those members who are thinking of retiring. The Retiree Bulletin provides instant e-messages informing members of rallies, legislation, or meeting that may be of interest. It also provides opportunities to take action on issues affecting pensions, health benefits or other issues vital to retirement security.