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October 19, 2020

What a great weekend! President Randi Weingarten was in our great state for the Michigan leg of the AFT Bus Tour. It started off on Thursday with a stop in Kalamazoo for a meet and greet with  members and a canvass kick-off. 

On Friday Detroit Federation of Teacher member, Everette Whitfield introduced Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday at the state fairgrounds. 

Saturday was packed full of events that started with a drive-by sign rally in the parking lot of the AFT Michigan office. Next up was a union solidarity event that was a collaboration with AFT Michigan, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW 58), Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA 1191), and SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Healthcare of Michigan. Speakers at the solidarity event included U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Congresswoman Dingell, Supreme Court candidate Elizabeth Welch and Randi Weingarten just to name a few. The last stop was a canvas kick-off in Dearborn at the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) local 223 hall, where we were joined by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. 

Court of Appeals Rules Against Additional Interest on 3% Case

The Michigan Court of Appeals has rejected a claim by public school employees who are subject to the MPSERS retirement system seeking payment of additional interest on money withheld from them under the 2010 “3%” statute. That law directed the diversion of 3% of current public school employee compensation into a fund to assist in payment of health care insurance for public school retirees, but was determined to be unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court in 2017 which resulted in more than $500,000,000 being refunded to employees in January 2018. While this was a substantial victory, AFT Michigan, in conjunction with AFSCME Council 25 and the Michigan Education Association, went to court arguing that the interest paid on the 3% refund was inadequate.

While we prevailed in the trial court, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the decision on a technical basis–finding that the State of Michigan is immune from the interest claim. The actual amount of interest which might have been paid to individuals was likely to be quite small. Therefore, while all three unions will review the decision carefully, this likely brings an end to ten years of litigation challenging this unfair and badly conceived statute. And while we wish we had secured a higher rate of interest, nothing can diminish the substantial victory obtained for all school employees which resulted in the refund of millions of dollars which should never have been taken from them.

Welter Advocates in Her Neighborhood

After picking up yard signs at our Saturday union swag event  with AFT President Randi Weingartenin and Secretary-Treasurer Fed Ingram at our Detroit office parking lot, Union of Part-Time Faculty (WSU) leader Nancy Welter spent the afternoon passing out the signs to her neighbors. She found her neighbors more than willing to support Biden by posting signs in their yards as well.

AFT Michigan Election 2020 Swag Sign Up

We still have a limited supply of yard signs (Biden/Harris, Black Lives Matter, Gary Peters, Supreme Court, Wayne County Millage) which are looking for a good home. To get your 2020 Election swag, please sign up here. Pickup will take place at the AFT Michigan office (2261 E. Jefferson, Detroit MI 48207) on Wednesday – Friday between 3:00 pm – 6:00 p.m. Enter the parking lot behind the building off Larned Street–requested signs and shirts will be available in the foyer. 

Governor Appoints Kinney to Developmental Disabilities Council

Governor Whitmer has appointed Lisa Kinney to the Michigan Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers with Developmental Disabilities. Lisa, a member of the Wayne County RESA Salaried Staff Federation, is an Early On special education consultant with Wayne RESA.  Congratulations Lisa.

Upcoming Union-Building Workshops

Our union-building workshops for members are all online this fall and we have a number of great topics coming up this month!

Collective Bargaining 101 (3 sessions)Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
6:00 PM8:00 PM
Treasurer Tuesdays: BudgetsTuesday, October 20, 20207:00 PM8:00 PM
Digital Media 101Wednesday, October 21, 20206:00 PM7:30 PM

Election 2020: Sign Up to Volunteer 

There’s a lot at stake in this election, which is why AFT Michigan members are not just voting, but making phone calls and sending text messages to encourage other people to vote, and to vote for champions of public education and working families. We have volunteer activities you can do from home. Click here to get the details and sign up for a time that works best for you.

Get the AFTvotes App!

Download the AFTvotes app to find out about our recommended candidates, check your vote-by-mail ballot request or find your polling location, and sign up to volunteer. You can also use our app to connect with other AFT members about the importance of voting in this election. If you’re on your phone, click here to download the app OR, you can find us in your phone’s app store as “AFTvotes.”

In solidarity,

David Hecker, President

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