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September 16, 2019

State Budget Still In Progress; Gov. Whitmer to Provide Update to AFT, MEA Members Tomorrow Night

Late last week, the Michigan Legislature took another step toward a final budget for K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities. Joint committees of House and Senate Appropriations members approved a budget which includes increases of about 2.4 percent for K-12 schools, 1 percent for community colleges, and .9 percent for universities. This budget, crafted by Republican legislative leaders, falls far short of the recommendations made by Governor Whitmer.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will join AFT Michigan and MEA members for a special members-only telephone town hall tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 17) at 7p.m. to talk about the ongoing state budget debate and what it means for students and educators.

You’ll be receiving an automated call on your home phone tomorrow evening around 7 p.m. to join the tele-townhall.  All you need to do is answer your phone and you’ll be automatically connected.

Only have a cell phone?  Not sure we have your correct home number?  Fill out this form to RSVP for the call and we’ll add your number to the list.  You will not receive an automated call on your cell phone unless you RSVP by 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

We look forward to having you on the tele-townhall with Gov. Whitmer tomorrow night! 

Michigan Education Unions Stand in Solidarity with Striking UAW Workers

As you have probably heard, tens of thousands of UAW members across the country went on strike this morning. Paula Herbart, president of the MEA, and I just released the following statement in solidarity:

“From schools across the state, AFT Michigan and the MEA want to send a strong message of solidarity to our UAW sisters and brothers on picket lines across the country. Companies like GM would not be the flagship institutions that they are without the hard work of union members in Michigan and across the country. It’s time for GM to come to the table and listen to the needs of UAW members and negotiate in good faith to give workers the wages and benefits they deserve. A fair contract means growth and stability for working families, which translates to good things for the communities where they live and the students in their lives. This strike should also serve as a symbol of the strength of working people in this country and the power that is inherent in their labor. When working people stand together we see progress not only in the workplace, but across our communities.”

If there’s a picket line in your community, please stop by and offer your support in person.

Register for AFT Michigan’s Union Building Institute


Join us at the University of Michigan in Dearborn as we kick-off our 2019-2020 Union Building Institute (UBI). AFT Michigan’s UBI program is intended for all AFT Michigan members, with a focus on local leaders who want to:

  • Attend a 101-level workshop in one of the four Power Wheel categories, or
  • Participate in a more advanced workshop on building up the internal structures of their union.

Please click here to register and for additional information about the conference, hotel accommodations, and mileage reimbursement.

Nominations for Teacher and Support Staff Professional of the Year

Support Staff: At the request of AFT Michigan, MDE has brought back the Educational Support Staff Professional of the Year Award, and is currently seeking nominations for an award recognizing the exceptional work done by those in educational support staff roles such as transportation workers, food service, custodial staff, skilled trades staff, maintenance, secretarial and administrative assistants, security guards, and paraprofessionals. 

AFT Michigan advocated for and has worked extensively with the MDE to develop this important recognition program.

Nominations can be made by anyone using the online form between now and Sunday, October 13, 2019, at 11:59 p.m.  Reviewers will evaluate each recommendation with the awardee announced in November 2019.  For more information about the Education Support Staff Professional of the Year program, please contact Jennifer Robel at or (517) 241-7054.

Teachers: We all know several outstanding teachers who go above and beyond for their students and are active in promoting the teaching profession. Now is the time to nominate them for the 2020-2021 Michigan Teacher of the Year (MTOY) program!

Nominations can be made using the online recommendation form between now and Sunday, October 6, 2019, at 11:59 p.m.  Anyone can nominate a teacher, provided the nominee meets the following requirements: Holds a current Michigan teaching certificate; has at least five years of successful teaching experience in Michigan; and works directly with students in their current role.

Every teacher eligible to apply will receive an email inviting them to complete Part A of the MTOY application process. Part A of the application process will be due by November 17, 2019.

Each teacher named as a Regional Teacher of the Year (RTOY) will become a member of the Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council (MTLAC). The MTLAC meets four times during their appointed year and provides RTOYs with an opportunity to learn more about statewide educational initiatives and provide feedback on those initiatives.

Global Week of Climate Action: September 20-27, 2019

The International Trade Union Confederation, of which AFT is an active member, is asking members to be part of the global week of action to coincide with the UN Climate Summit (23 September). The week of action starts with a global student strike on Friday, September 20, and culminates with a global day of action on Friday, September 27. 

Rosa Pavanelli, the General Secretary of Public Services International, wrote an op-ed calling on public sector workers around the world to support the students: As educators, one of our most important roles is supporting our students when they stand up for justice. On social media, the global labor movement will be using the hashtags #JustTransition for #ClimateAmbition if you’d like to join in!

Upcoming Professional Development

AFT Professional Learning Opportunities

Sept 18: The Most Important Part: Relationships

Join us Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. EDT for a 75-minute webinar on the importance of the teacher-student relationship, how to develop and foster a relationship, as well as students’ perception of the importance of this bond, and thus its impact on student learning. This virtual session has been designed to foster active engagement through the use of collaborative online learning communities. Participants will share their thoughts and ideas in small groups using a close-reading protocol and leave with research-based information and the opportunity to continue their learning. Register now.

Activating Learning in All Disciplines

October 5, 2019 from 8:30-4:00 p.m.

Macomb Federation of Educators Office – 15300 E. 10 Mile Rd. – Eastpointe, MI

This workshop explores a pathway where lessons connect with cultural norms and students’ ability to share in their own learning and expectations leading to academic growth.

AFT Michigan members will receive 6 SCECHs after completion of this course.

Click here to register.

In Solidarity,

David Hecker, President

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