January 4, 2021
For those of you who had the opportunity for time off these past few weeks, I hope it was enjoyable and restful. We have a full plate this coming year, with our number one concern remaining everyone’s safety. It is good news that the COVID numbers continue to decline in Michigan. A good deal of that is a result of the Governor’s strong actions and most people taking this virus seriously and acting accordingly. Vaccines are on the way but the state gets its supply from the federal government and cannot yet provide a timeframe for mass distribution. Health care workers are number one on the list. Educators are also near the top of the list.
With safety being the top concern, our work bargaining, organizing, being legislatively and politically active, training and so much more continues.
COVID-19 Shortens Lame Duck Legislative Session
Going into the final weeks of the 2019-2020 Michigan Legislative session, several issues were pending that would impact AFT Michigan members. These included legislation covering topics such as substitute teachers, hazard pay, and evaluations. Several of these issues fell by the wayside due to a truncated session schedule shortened by COVID-19 precautions.
The Legislature did pass a supplemental budget bill (Senate Bill 745) that was primarily focused on COVID-19 relief, which included $2.5 million for hazard pay that would go to teachers in pre-K and adult education programs. These individuals had been left out of the hazard pay that was passed for school employees earlier this year. Unfortunately, the Legislature failed to include provisions to pay support staff in pre-K and adult education settings, or to correct other issues with the hazard pay language that we had pointed out over the last few months. We will continue to work to correct these issues in the upcoming months.
We will also continue to push for staff evaluations and third grade reading requirements to be waived for the current school year due to the pandemic. We had hoped to move legislation in the Lame Duck session, but, like many other issues, these were pushed to 2021.
When you serve as local president for 42 years, it says a good deal about the respect the members have for you. The members of the Henry Ford Community College Federation of Teachers (HFCC-FT—Local 1650) know how fortunate they are to have had John McDonald serve for 42 years, so in December they re-elected him to another two-year term. John was first hired as an English instructor at HFCC (now HFC) in 1969, and joined the 1650 negotiating team early in his tenure at the college. Over his decades of service as President, John has led negotiations over multiple contracts. The Local 1650 contract is a national model in higher education collective bargaining, with strong protections for the faculty role in shared governance, as well as compensation and benefits that recognize the professional standing and expertise of the faculty they represent. In August 2020, John led negotiations over Local 1650’s most recent contract, which established meaningful staffing levels to ensure that HFC can continue to offer the best academic programming possible for students, while providing stable full-time opportunities to higher education teachers in southeast Michigan. In addition to his leadership of Local 1650, John also serves as an AFT national Vice President and AFT Michigan Vice President. Congratulations John, and thank you.
Upcoming Union-Building Workshops
|Filing for Unemployment in Michigan||Friday, January 8, 2021||3:00pm||4:30pm|
|Filing for Unemployment in Michigan||Tuesday, January 12, 2021||2:00pm||3:30pm|
|Filing for Unemployment in Michigan||Wednesday, January 13, 2021||3:00pm||4:30pm|
|Member Organizing Institute 101||2 Saturdays, January 23 and January 30, 2021||9:00am||12:00pm|
|Bargaining 101||3 Mondays, January 25, February 1, February 8, 2021||6:00pm||8:00pm|
Upcoming Professional Development
Strategies To Boost Students’ Ability To Stay Positive and Focused PreK-14
AFT Michigan – Virtual Workshop
January 9, 2021
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
This in-service will provide participants an opportunity to investigate educational research, strategies, routines, and rituals that help to enhance students’ learning and social emotional growth.
David Hecker, President