Terrence Martin elected to serve as new union president
On June 30, 2023, David Hecker will be stepping down as President of AFT Michigan after 22 years as head of the state federation. At its June 22, 2023 meeting, the AFT Michigan Administrative Board elected Secretary-Treasurer Terrence Martin to serve as President and Kirsten Herold to serve as Secretary-Treasurer as of July 1, 2023.
Reflecting on his tenure, Hecker shared that, “To lead a union with a membership so committed to moving forward, regardless of who tries to stand in our way, has been the honor of a lifetime. Thanks to our local leaders, our board, and our talented staff, AFT Michigan has accomplished a great deal over the years. Handing the reins to smart and committed leaders like Terrence and Kirsten makes me excited to see everything we will accomplish in the future.”
David Hecker served as President of AFT Michigan from 2001-2023. During his tenure, AFT Michigan organized many new locals representing thousands of new members—particularly in higher education and healthcare, weathered a storm of anti-union and anti-public education attacks, built deep partnerships with community allies, and became a political force in the state.
Hecker became a member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in 1977, when he joined AFT Local 3220, the union of graduate assistants at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a Ph.D. in Industrial Relations. He has served as a Vice President of the national AFT since 2004, including serving on the AFT Executive Committee and co-chairing the AFT Organizing Committee.
Even stronger than his allegiance to AFT, Hecker is a lifelong trade unionist committed to building a strong labor movement. From 1986 to 1996, Hecker served as Executive Assistant to the President of the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO. For many years, he has been a member of the Michigan State AFL-CIO and Metro Detroit AFL-CIO’s Executive Committees and has also been a member of AFT delegations to the Education International World Congress, worked with the National Union of Teachers in England, the Cambodian Independent Teachers Union, and higher education unions in Israel and the occupied territories.
Hecker is also active with many community organizations. He is chair of Community in Schools Michigan and the Green and Health Schools Coalition, co-chair of the Metropolitan Affairs Corporation, serves on the boards of Promote the Vote, the Michigan League for Public Policy, the Education Alliance of Michigan and New Detroit, and is an officer-at-large of the Michigan Democratic Party. David is married to Alice Audie-Figueroa and has three children.
Terrence Martin Elected President
Before becoming President of AFT Michigan, Terrence Martin served as President of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), AFT Local 231, from 2018-2023. He has been a member of the AFT Michigan Administrative Board since 2016 and was elected AFT Michigan Secretary-Treasurer in 2022.
An outspoken advocate for social, educational, and economic justice in the city of Detroit, Martin has spent the past decade fighting for students, educators, and the people of Detroit. He is a native Detroiter and attended Detroit Public Schools.
Martin began his advocacy as a second-grade teacher at John Lynch Elementary on the east side of Detroit, where he became a building representative. His activism led him to the elected role of treasurer of the DFT. After serving as treasurer for several years, Martin ascended to a variety of staff capacities at the DFT, including serving as labor relations administrator, community engagement coordinator and political action director. Martin also serves on the Michigan Education Justice Coalition, the 13th Congressional District Democratic Committee, and the Black Leadership Advisory Council created by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Martin received his Master’s degree in teaching from Marygrove College in Detroit. He is also a graduate of Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Martin is an athlete who played high school, college, and semi-professional basketball. He is an active member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated and the proud father of a son who attends Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Kirsten Herold Elected Secretary-Treasurer
Kirsten Herold is the President of the Lecturers Employee Organization (LEO), AFT Local 6244, and a Lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Public Health (Ann Arbor), where she staffs a small writing lab. She has been involved with LEO in various leadership roles since 2002 when the union was started and has served on six bargaining teams, being lead negotiator on three rounds of bargaining, most recently the groundbreaking 2018 and 2021 contracts, which gained campus equity and substantial raises for long-serving, nontenure-track faculty.
Herold has served on the AFT Michigan Administrative Board since 2021, regularly presents at national conferences, and has been appointed to important University of Michigan committees, most recently the search committee for the new President. Originally from Denmark, she has a B.A. from Colby College and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The mother of an adult daughter, she lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and two puggles.