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April 20, 2020

I want to thank you again for all you are doing in these most difficult times.  I have heard comments from both allies and some with whom we sometimes disagree praising the work of educators across the state.  As usual you are there for our students. Stay safe. 

UPTF and GEO Ratify Contracts

Congratulations to the Wayne State Union of Part-Time Faculty, Local 477, and the UM Graduate Employees’ Organization, Local 3550, whose members both overwhelmingly ratified new collective bargaining agreements last week. Bargaining a contract is never easy, but it was a particular challenge for those locals who got hit with a pandemic right as they were working to ramp up their contract campaigns. Both UPTF and GEO figured out how to virtually keep members involved as they hammered out their final agreements with administration. Great job by the leadership and bargaining teams of both locals. 

In particular, I want to recognize the work of Tom Anderson, who was the lead negotiator for this UPTF contract as he was for every contract since the local was founded. Tom also helped found the Henry Ford Adjunct Faculty Organization and has been one of the most committed activists building the contingent faculty labor movement in Michigan for many years, not only leading negotiations at his own locals but training others on financial analysis with us and the national AFT. Tom is retiring from teaching at the end of this semester. Thank you Tom.

Election Reminders

A few municipalities have elections scheduled for May 5, please check to determine if your community is one of them. 

  • Today, April 20, is the last day to register to vote online for May 5 elections. Click on the link for online voter registration: MI Online Voter Registration  

Whitmer Highlights National AFT Tele-Town Hall

This week’s Tuesday with the AFT town hall guests will be three frontline governors. Our own Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have all led with science, compassion and common sense as the COVID-19 virus has sickened people in their states. Frankly, their smart responses in their respective states have been a clear contrast to President Trump’s responses. Whitmer, Pritzker and Lujan Grisham have shown empathy and a willingness to listen to scientific and medical guidance, and have worked eagerly with our affiliates in their states to make sure working people are a priority of the recovery.

Our town hall will be held on Tuesday, April 21 at 6:45 p.m. Eastern. You can register for this, and all AFT telephone town halls, here.

P.S.: On Monday night, AFT national will be doing an event with Michelle Obama’s organization, When We All Vote. You can register for it here!

Upcoming Professional Development

AFT Michigan

Helping Students Struggling with Mental Health – Virtual Workshop

May 2, 2020

9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This workshop will provide interaction strategies that help educators maintain a workable relationship with learners who are experiencing mental health challenges.

Click here to register.

AFT Professional Development  

Simple Digital Tools for Online Learning

Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. EDT

During this webinar for AFT members, you will hear from fellow educators as they do some quick demos of digital tools like Flipgrid and Screencastify that can help you connect with your students in a meaningful way. At the end of the session, we will have time to share experiences and find out what other supports you need. Register now.

Distance Learning & ELLs: What Have We Learned So Far?

Thursday, April 30, at 3 p.m. EDT

Although distance learning has quickly become the default solution for the more than 54 million students displaced by school closures, it is estimated that 25-50 percent of the 5 million English language learners around the country either do not have the appropriate technology devices needed for online learning or access to the internet. Join us to learn more about some best practices we are seeing thus far for both groups of ELLs—those with Internet access and those without. Register now

Members that COVID-19 Has Taken from Us

  • John Elliott, Detroit Federation of Teachers (former President & AFT Michigan Administrative Board member)
  • Marilyn Horace-Moore, Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers (former Treasurer)
  • Ricardo Smith, Association of Adjunct Faculty at Macomb Community College
  • Darla Swint, Hamtramck Fed of Teachers (retired Paraprofessional)
  • Linda Wilkins, Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals
  • Art Williams, Wayne County Community College Federation of Teachers (former Executive Board member)

AFT Michigan will honor our members who have died by recognizing them in words, and by continuing our work for educational, racial, and economic justice. If you know of an active or retired member who should be listed, please email

In Solidarity, 

David Hecker, President

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