Thursday night, the Michigan Legislature adjourned for the year, without passing any of the legislation that would have deeply harmed our students, our schools, our members, and our union.
Attacks on public employee pensions, school funding, collective bargaining, worker voice, release time for labor-management collaboration, and our members’ ability to pay union dues did not earn the support of a majority of the Legislature.
And that’s because of the dedication of our members and the strength of our union.
Our members did excellent, inspiring work, and our success is also a result of our collaboration with the Michigan AFL-CIO and the Michigan Education Association. Our brothers and sisters also did incredible work organizing members to take action, and proved the strength of the labor movement lies in our solidarity.
If we had not put our all into stopping these attacks on public education and working families, the DeVos family and their allies would have won today.
For our part of a coalition campaign, AFT Michigan members did the following advocacy work over the past three weeks:
- Sent at least 22,292 emails to 146 legislators
- Made more than 4,000 phone calls
- Wrote letters to the editor in local papers
- Held dozens of meetings with legislators in their home districts,
- More than 40 retirees came to Lansing to directly lobby
- Worked with local school administrators and boards
We should also take pride in the fact that several pro-public education and pro-labor bills passed, including:
- A repeal of the strict zero-tolerance laws that were applied discriminatorily and which fueled the school-to-prison pipeline, but instead provided better restorative justice and discipline options to schools; and,
- A bill which provides reforms to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency’s to preevent repeition of their robo-fraud abuses, where people were convicted of fraud, denied necessary earned benefits, and saddled with exorbitant and unjust fines by a computer.
We know that all of the threats to our students, our schools, our unions, and our democracy will return in the next session. But for now, let’s celebrate our success and organize for the future!