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Rosa Parks Documentary Debuts at the DIA to Kick Off Black History Month

This past Saturday night the documentary film, The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks, premiered at the Detroit Institute of Arts Film Theater.  The AFT was a co-sponsor of the event and AFT Michigan Secretary-Treasurer Terrence Martin and Detroit Teachers President Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins welcomed the crowd while AFT President Randi Weingarten spoke on a panel following the showing.  This showing kicked off the AFT’s national work in support of Black History Month this year

The documentary is based on a book by Jeanne Theoharis, an AFT member at Brooklyn College, and lays out the immense strategizing and planning that went into the iconic event on a Montgomery bus, including how Ms. Parks was specifically chosen and trained for this action, that she was Secretary of the NAACP local branch and a civil rights activist long before her refusal, and that she did not refuse to give up her seat because she was physically tired, but because she was tired of racial discrimination.

Union-Building Institute

We had a great Union-Building Institute this past weekend with over 100 members coming together to dive into the work of building strong unions.  Ed Muir, AFT’s Deputy Director of Research & Strategic Initiatives, joined us to discuss the rise of the right and attacks on public education. Members spent the day building their skills around organizing, problem solving at their worksites, negotiating, and the power of political action.

Pictures above: Members from PIO, UMMAP, GEO, GEU, DFT 681, and DFT 231 participating in Saturday’s bargaining simulation.

Members from K-12, healthcare and higher ed participated in our Member Organizing Institute (MOI) Orientation where they analyzed 1:1 conversations, practiced moving colleagues to action, and began to plan for building membership at their locals.

Hamtramck Federation of Teachers arrived in style with new local shirts!

During lunch, AFT Michigan’s Queer Caucus and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus held space for members to build community and make plans for the year ahead. Interested in learning more and getting involved? Fill out the respective interest forms linked above!

For more information on upcoming union building events please visit 

482Forward Youth-Led Art Exhibition: Your Brain on School 

You’re invited to the Grand Opening of the 482Forward Youth Organizing Collective Youth-Led Art Exhibition: Your Brain on School, taking place Saturday, February 11, 4-8pm in Southwest Detroit.

When: Saturday, February 11, 2023, 4-8pm

Where: 2701 Bagley St. Detroit, MI 48216

Details: Reception at 4pm, with a press conference and student speeches at 5pm, followed by staggered walk throughs of the immersive art exhibit

Register now:

To learn more: Contact

Over 200 youth from across the city have contributed to an immersive art project highlighting the impact of stress, over-surveillance and lack of resources on their mental health. But this project isn’t just about showcasing the negatives – it also looks to the future, and what students’ hopes and dreams are for Detroit schools!

Take Action: Tell Your Legislators to REPEAL THE UNFAIR RETIREMENT TAX

In 2011, anti-worker legislators lowered taxes on corporations. To pay for it, they raised taxes on the hard-earned pensions of retirees, many of them retired union members.

But now Michigan’s legislature has the opportunity to balance the scales and level the playing field for working people. That starts with restoring workers’ rights and repealing the unfair laws that have been holding Michigan’s families back — like the retirement tax.

Rolling back the unfair retirement tax will put an average of $1,000 back in the pockets of 500,000+ households. And it will correct a longstanding injustice.


AFT Michigan Upcoming Workshop: Labor and Social Movements with Dan Golodner!

February 16th @ 5 PM- Our history that binds all communities together

AFT archivist Dan Golodner returns to our Zoom-waves on Thursday, February 16th at 5 PM to regale us with stories about labor history and how the labor movement has always intersected with various social justice movements. Reaching into the Reuther Library archives, Dan will talk about not only the teacher union movement but also other unions that transformed and assisted our allies over the past 100 years.  This workshop will be over Zoom.

Sign up at

What’s Next for Labor’s Michigan Agenda

The political landscape has changed with the November 2022 elections. More pro-labor elected officials are now in control in Lansing, but only by slim majorities.  What does this mean for Labor in Michigan? Join Labor and other activists from across the state for an interactive conversation on Labor’s agenda and ways to accomplish these goals.  

See flier for the zoom link and other information. Please share fare wide! You can also find the link on our homepage at

Strategic Contract Bargaining 

Thursdays 6pm-8pm

March 2, 2023 – April 6, 2023

This course will teach you effective techniques of bargaining local/main table agreements. Come learn the legalities and do’ and don’ts of the very legal document that dictates your wages, health care, safety, benefits and rights on and off the shop floor. Learn strategies of effective representation to ensure fair and equitable agreements for your constituency. Course is taught by veteran union bargainer Andrea Hunter.

Click here for more information 

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 to contribute and make a big difference in protecting public education and building a better Michigan future! 

Professional Development 

Strategies for Student Success Webinars

Register now for a new monthly webinar series, “TEACH-ify: A Great Teaching Strategy Playlist!” AFT members are invited to join national trainers from the AFT’s Professional Learning program to talk about great teaching strategies for supporting our students in grades K-12; the series started in January and continues through May.

These free Zoom sessions are a fun and productive way to meet colleagues from around the country and learn about teaching strategies you can use the next day. We will also offer office hours following each session to answer participants’ questions. 

Check out upcoming sessions below:

  • Feb. 9: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: Focusing on Student Strengths
  • March 9: Social and Emotional Learning
  • April 13: Differentiation: Tiering
  • May 11: Differentiation: Choice Board

Sessions will be held the second Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m. Eastern time. Register for all sessions here.

In solidarity

David Hecker


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