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The proposed 10% wage cut has been stopped and class sizes will NOT increase from last year. No one person made that happen. Collectively, we won this battle. The fight to lower class size, stop increased health care costs, prevent layoffs and other battles, will continue. But make no mistake, collectively, WE stopped the 10 percent wage cut.On Monday, Aug. 18 DPS announced the 10% cut. We immediately informed you by email. That evening the executive boards of all three AFT Detroit locals met to discuss strategies and actions. We talked with you, listened to your ideas, and your passion for stopping this outrageous cut.On Wednesday, parents and community members held a press conference opposing the wage cuts and increased class sizes. We rolled out our action plan: a tele-town hall on Thursday, walking neighborhoods on Tuesday, a mass rally at the Fisher Building on Wednesday and organizing a mass showing at the September 1 Labor Day Parade where we would urge all union and community members to call the Governor telling him to stop these attacks.
On Thursday, almost 2,000 AFT Detroit members participated in the tele-town hall with you offering your ideas and your support for rallying, protesting, reaching out to community and calling the Governor.And while all this was happening AFT Michigan locals called the Governor as did Metro Detroit AFL-CIO affiliates and MEA members. We arranged for thousands of Detroiters to be called, informed of the issues and urged to contact the Governor.

Mayor Mike Duggan, House Democratic Leader Tim Griemel, Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, and many more community leaders urged the Governor to put a halt to these cuts. State Superintendent Mike Flanagan tweeted his opposition to the 10 percent pay cut, saying budget crises can’t be resolved by continuing to cut wages.

At Saturday’s Michigan Democratic Party Convention the agenda was put on hold so that delegates could take out their cell phones and call the Governor.

And we are sure you all took actions we do not even know about. What we did was we organized. And oganizing is how we won.
It is often said that the number one reason people do not get involved is that they are not asked. I believe that. Because we asked, you responded. When union sisters and brothers responded, community leaders responded, elected officials responded, it started a chain reaction. We organized and it worked! Thank you.

Thank you to AFT Michigan and AFT for their strong support. Thank you to our community for standing up and speaking out. And most of all, thank you DFT members and all DPS Union Coalition members.
Needless to say the battle is not over. Class sizes are still too high and must be decreased. Our fight against increased health care costs and layoffs continues. If we continue to organize, build relationships with community, be as active politically as we were this week, we have proven we can make the difference.

Our work is far from over. Join us today for the Solidarity Walk for Our Students and join us tomorrow for our Unity Rally at the Fisher Building. Walk with us in the Labor Day Parade and most important, Get Out To Vote on Nov. 4th.

We won an important battle. Now let’s win the war.

Edna Reaves, DFT Executive Vice President & AFT Michigan Secretary Treasurer


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