June 8, 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers
Will we finally have real change in policing? Will more people understand how deeply racism is ingrained in our society? Will these issues finally be addressed?
Many actions since the murder of George Floyd are encouraging. Police reform legislation passed the Michigan Senate 38 to 0, with similar efforts happening elsewhere. The Minneapolis City Council voted to completely rethink public safety and rebuild their police department. The demonstrations and the number of white people supporting racial justice, particularly in our suburbs, many of which are overwhelmingly white. My wife and I marched in Huntington Woods on Friday and Royal Oak on Saturday. Tremendous crowds, well beyond the “usuals.”
As change starts at home, we had a rich staff discussion last week. Our Administrative Board will discuss what we need to be doing as a state union later this week. We are figuring out not only how best to support the current round of demonstrations (we have donated masks and money), but how to institutionalize the fight for racial justice within our union.
We have much work to be done. And we are ready to do it.
Support UM House Officers
The House Officers Association at Michigan Medical (University of Michigan Hospital) is fighting for fair wages as they seek to wrap up a new contract. Unfortunately, the UM Administration’s proposal does not show the house officers the respect they deserve. These doctors are on the frontlines always, and during COVID-19 have been saving lives on a daily basis, while top administrators rake in major salaries. Please email UM President Mark Schlissel and Executive Vice President Marschall Runge and tell them that everyone is honoring frontline workers and the UM Administration should do the same by agreeing to HOA’s salary proposal. Email Drs. Schlissel and Runge and tell them house officers deserve fair wages. Thank you.
AFT Tele-Town Hall – Tuesday, June 9
Recent events have highlighted the fact that we have three very real crises in America right now: a public health crisis, an economic crisis and a justice crisis. AFT will be using this coming membership telephone town hall to talk about how the justice crisis affects our members and our students. Guests at this week’s town hall will be civil rights activist Rev. Herbert Daughtry and Color of Change President Rashad Robinson.
AFT telephone town hall will be tomorrow, Tuesday, June 9, at 6:45 p.m. ET. You can sign up here.
Action Needed: Ask Your Friends and Family to Ask their Senators to Support the HEROES Act
COVID-19 is triggering state and local budget crises across the nation. State and local governments are incurring huge new costs as they seek to contain and treat the coronavirus and respond to the virus-induced spike in joblessness and related human needs. At the same time, they are projecting sharply lower tax revenues due to the widespread collapse of economic activity brought about by efforts to contain the virus’ spread.
The Senate and the president must fund public education and state and local public services now. To that end, the fourth stabilization funding bill, Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, is now under consideration in the Senate. The AFT believes it must include bold provisions aimed at helping states and localities weather this storm. This includes billions of dollars for public K-12 education and public colleges and universities to safely reopen and account for the unanticipated increased costs of operating schools in a COVID-19 environment. Reopening schools and colleges while keeping students and staff safe will take more—not fewer—resources, especially as students will return to school with significant academic, social and emotional needs.
In Michigan, we’re short at least $4 billion over the next two years for PreK-12 and higher education. It is imperative we receive federal aid. Our US Senators, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Sen. Gary Peters, are both strong supporters of the HEROES Act. We’re asking our members to contact their friends and family in other states, and share with them the AFT action tool which will allow them to send an email to their senators.
If you have family and friends who live in the states in the list below, please have them go to this link to send their senators and email and urge their support for the HEROES Act: http://allin.rtp.aft.org/heroesact
Return to School Advisory Council
Congratulations to Onaway Federation of Teachers President Kym Wregglesworth for being appointed by Governor Whitmer to the Return to School Advisory Council. I am honored to join Kym on this Council. The Council met last Friday and will be working diligently and quickly to develop a set of recommendations for the Governor.
EMUFT Treasurer Honored as a Top Accounting Instructor in Michigan
Congratulations to Tony Kurek, lecturer in Accounting and EMUFT treasurer, who has been named the recipient of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) 2020 Accounting Teaching Excellence Award.
Read more on this well-deserved honor here: https://today.emich.edu/story/news/11404
Back to School Orders
AFT is offering a collection of FREE materials. These free resources are intended to help you as part of the union’s drive to make a difference in your work and your life. It is the vehicle we can use to ensure our voice is heard and, with that, ensure a stronger democracy and a better life for all. How? These free materials show how AFT members and leaders are making a difference with their caring and activism.
This year’s materials include:
- AFT pocket calendars (2020-2021 Educators, 2021 Nurses and Health Professionals, and 2021 Public Employees);
- AFT+ Member Benefits brochures;
- Brochures to help you organize; and
- Brochures highlighting AFT programs and resources, including stories of our members who are meeting the needs of patients, students and communities throughout the pandemic.
David Hecker, President