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Action Needed in Support of Chavez Teacher

In January, management at Cesar Chavez Academy informed Dave Dyckes, 17-year veteran of the CCA High School Math Department and a founding member of the CCA Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff, MIACTS #6482, that it would no longer accommodate his need to teach virtually through the end of the school year.  Dave’s doctors have told him that he should avoid teaching in person during the current phase of the COVID-19 pandemic because of several health factors including a heart condition.  Their decision forced Dave to take a medical leave.  His students are now without a math teacher and the administration has refused to discuss the issue with the union. 

Dave needs our support.  We are asking AFT Michigan members to send an email to the decision makers at CCA asking that they continue to accommodate Dave’s medical condition by allowing him to teach virtually through the end of this school year.  

Please visit this link  to support Dave by sending an email. 

Successful Return of Black Men in Unions Conference at UM-Dearborn

Thanks to the support of the University of Michigan Democratic Regents, the UM-Dearborn Center for Labor and Community Studies has reopened its doors this academic year.  Last week’s 35th Black Men in Unions conference was a resounding success with both plenary and workshop rooms packed with participants and solid, useful content. Also impressive was the number of volunteers who had responsibility for much of the conference, working closely with Center staff. The Center’s School for Women Workers will be held April 21-23.  For more information:

Join AFT Michigan’s Black Caucus

A recent report from Education Policy Innovation Collaborative noted only 5.8% of Michigan teachers identify as Black, showing that educators are far less diverse than the students we serve. Research has found that Black students exposed to at least one Black teacher between grades 3-5 are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to aspire to attend a four-year college or university. Once they get to college, only 5% of tenured faculty and 7% of nontenure-track faculty nationally are Black. 

We know school and college communities are made stronger when the staff is reflective of the students we serve and the broader diversity of our state. We support diversifying Michigan’s education workforce to reflect our students across many dimensions, focusing first on addressing the underrepresentation of Black educators in our schools and colleges. 

This group will bring together members to build community, paths for advocacy, and resources. Our goal is to complete concrete projects that will help increase the number of Black educators in the classroom.  To learn more about joining AFT Michigan’s Black Caucus fill out this interest form.

Support Great Lakes Coffee Workers: Wednesday, Feb. 23 at Noon

As you may know, the workers at Great Lakes Coffee have been on strike at the Woodward location as they organize with UNITEHERE. Thanks to everyone who came out last week – it was great to see such a big crowd supporting workers. This Wednesday at noon, there is a support rally at 1475 E. Jefferson, outside of the new Meijer Rivertown Market in Detroit.

Member Spotlight: Andy “AndyT” Thompson, UM LEO #6244

Andy Thompson, a lecturer at LEO, was nominated for our AFT Michigan Member Spotlight by LEO President Kirsten Herold, who writes:

“Andrew ‘AndyT’ Thompson is an invaluable member of our union. He wears many ‘hats’ in LEO and uses these multiple roles and perspectives to help strengthen our collective work. He will sometimes refer to putting on his ‘steward hat’ while considering the next steps we should take in our Communications Committee.

AndyT is also an active member in the SPACE (Solidarity, Political Action, & Community Engagement) Committee, the LEO COVID Caucus, and the Anti-Austerity organizing of the UM All-Campus Labor Council. He is enthusiastically willing to connect with and support other union members in organizing and communications work from his own unit to our newly recognized LEO-GLAM unit of librarians, archivists, and curators to other locals, individually or through the Public Higher Education Workers ​​(PHEW) Network. What comes to mind when one thinks of AndyT is inexhaustible energy. 

Even more than all of the roles that AndyT takes on or the time that he spends building power within LEO, it is the way that he does the work with passion and a willingness to do better. He approaches organizing with humility, humor, and genuine care. He considers the ways that we can improve our organization and the labor movement more broadly, then endeavors to make it a reality with his coworkers. He has a deep commitment to educating and engaging our LEO membership and making participating in the union as accessible as possible.”

In addition to his stellar union activism, AndyT’s other “hats” include being a dedicated teacher, a musician, and an accomplished artist. He carries his strong union commitment to fostering broad, public, and democratic engagement and participation to his work as a sculptor and builder of interactive art projects that expose the hidden and concrete ways that power and injustice shape the built environment. In recognition of his work, he received a prestigious Kresge Artist Fellowship in the Visual Arts in July of 2021. AndyT’s biography used for the award boasts that he is a “proud member of the Lecturers’ Employee Organization.” We are proud to call him our own.  

Help us highlight the amazing work members from across our constituencies do every day for their colleagues, students, communities, and our union. To make sure more people hear their stories, follow the link to our website and fill out the form to nominate an AFT Michigan member to be recognized for what they do at work, in the community, or our union!

Contribute to the AFT Michigan PAC Today

AFT Michigan fights for our members, students and communities all year round and we need your help. Can you donate $1 a week to aid us in this fight? Please visit the AFT Michigan website and set up a recurring gift to make a big difference in protecting public education and building a better Michigan future! 

Wregglesworth on Why We Teach the Truth

Kymberli Wregglesworth, past president of the Onaway Federation of Teachers and Region 2 teacher of the year for 2018-19, published an op-ed in the Detroit News with two other former teachers of the year about how teaching diversity, equity and inclusion helps students see that all human beings, in their differences and similarities, deserve respect and care. Thanks to Kym and all of you who do this work every day.

Upcoming Union-Building Workshops

Delegation, Feedback & Accountability (2 Sessions)Thursday, February 24 & March 3, 20225:00 PM6:30 PM
Treasurer Tuesday: Record Retention & Important DatesTuesday, March 15, 20227:00 PM8:30 PM

Professional Development 

AFT Michigan 

Universal Design for Learning

March 5, 2022

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

In this workshop participants will learn how to use learner variability as a way to understand and address individual students’ learning needs. Participants will have an opportunity to apply principles of universal design to reduce barriers for students in the educational environment, assessments, methods and materials.  There will also be an opportunity to learn how the Danielson Framework for Teaching Four Domains (Teacher Evaluation) is embedded in Universal Design for Learning.

Participants will earn 6 SCECHs after completion of the workshop.

Click here to register.

Share my Lesson

American Slavery

Use these free K-12 lessons to teach the hard and honest history of American slavery, including the 1619 Project, life for enslaved people, the abolitionist movement and historical context.

UNTOLD HISTORY: The Enslaved Household of Thomas Jefferson

In this episode of Untold History, learn the story of Ursula, Edith and Frances—three teenagers Thomas Jefferson brought to the White House to train as his enslaved personal chefs.

New Literacy Webinars Continue into June

You now can access even more free professional development webinars as part of the AFT’s Reading Opens the World literacy series!

Here are more free, for-credit webinars in the Reading Opens the World series–open to everyone:

All sessions will be available on demand after they first run. So you can register now and watch them later at your leisure. If you sign up and miss it, we’ll email you the on-demand links. Access these recent sessions on demand now: Improving Literacy of ELLs and Scaffolding for Literacy and ELLs.

In solidarity, 

David Hecker


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