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AFT Michigan’s Union Building Institute – February 5-8, 2024

Start off 2024 strong by building your union leadership skills!  Worksite leaders and members are invited to sign up for various virtual sessions designed to support members develop skills and build on existing knowledge and skills around core union capacities throughout the week of February 5th. Sessions are focused on core areas of AFT Michigan’s Power Wheel and include the following:

What’s a Worksite Leader? – Monday, February 5

As a building representative or department steward you are a “mini-president” — the “face of the union” in your worksite.  Members rely on you for communication about union events, updates, and actions.  Members also turn to you for support with worksite issues.  Join us to learn about and reflect on the core skills that make a strong union leader.

Contract Enforcement 101 – Tuesday, February 6

We work hard to win strong contracts, let’s make sure we enforce them!  Knowing your contract and understanding the process of handling worksite issues can help members find solutions and build power.  In this session, participants will define grievances and work their way through a case study to help demystify the process of contract enforcement.

Using Lists to Organize Your Worksite – Wednesday, February 7

All good organizing starts with a great list! Join us for an evening with AFT Michigan’s very own list-guy, Dan Kukuk, to learn how a well organized list can support your ability to reach out to colleagues about upcoming union events and issues. We’ll also spend some time discussing how elections play an important role in setting policies and conditions that impact educators, students, and communities with Political Coordinator, Jenell Mansfield. Come find out how lists and worksite conversations are crucial in moving members to action in upcoming 2024 elections!

Mastering the One-on-One Conversation – Thursday, February 8

Want to talk to your colleagues about issues in your workplace or invite them to the next union meeting, but not sure how to start?  This training is for you!  Come join our 90 minute session on 1:1 conversations that move your colleagues to action.  Whether it’s asking a potential member to sign a union card, talking to an unsure member about an upcoming board meeting, or moving a busy colleague towards being more active in your union, this training will leave you feeling confident in your organizing conversation skills!

All sessions are over zoom and run from 5-6 PM. Register today at

Justice Leaders Collaborative (JLC) Core Course – February 12 – April 1

The Justice Leaders Core Course is open to all AFT Michigan leaders passionate about issues of equity, inclusion and social justice. Learning will focus on issues of privilege, oppression and inequality along lines of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Participants will come to understand their own social identities, biases, and prejudices; increase their knowledge about the histories and present realities of various social identity groups; and begin considering how to incorporate this knowledge and awareness into building strong unions.

Our next cohort of the Justice Leaders Core Course will run 8 consecutive Mondays, 6:00-8:00 PM, starting February 12. Nearly 100 AFT Michigan leaders from all constituencies have now completed the Core Course. 

To register for the Justice Leaders Core Course fill out this form:

Thank you Kate, Welcome Victor

Congratulations to Kate Birdsall, who has accepted a new position at MSU. Kate served as President of the Union of Non-Tenure Track Faculty (UNTF 1855) and was a member of our Ad Board, where she also helped chair our Non-Tenure Track Faculty Committee. I worked closely with Kate in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at MSU and she was a tireless and effective voice for her members and the campus community with the Board, administrators and other stakeholders. UNTF Vice President Victor Rodriguez-Pereira, who has led the local’s organizing efforts, is stepping up to become President.

Union Plus Scholarship Deadline: January 31

The Union Plus scholarship deadline is coming up fast. It’s noon EST January 31, 2024 for the scholarship dispersal beginning Fall 2024. Scholarships range from $400 to $4,000. Eligibility is members, members children, spouses/domestic partners and the member must have been a member in good standing for 12 months. or

Upcoming International Workers Caucus Meeting – February 12

Join fellow international workers to discuss challenges of being a visa holder in the workplace. Join us and build a space for community, conversation, and action around immigration issues for international workers. 

We hold monthly meetings on the 2nd Monday of each month, our next meeting is February 12, at 5pm EST. RSVP here: 

AFT Student Debt Clinics

Sign up today for AFT Student Debt Virtual Clinic Webinar. AFT has two upcoming Student Debt Clinic, February 8 and 19, from 7:00 – 8:30 pm EST. AFT Student Debt Clinics are 90-minute programs that: 

  • Situate the experience of borrowers in the midst of a national student debt crisis;
  • Empower them to manage their student debt by giving them information on free federal programs that may lower their monthly payments and lead to their loans being forgiven; and
  • Engage them in union activism to address the student debt crisis and other important issues in their workplace and community.

Register for an AFT Student Debt Clinic Webinar Today

Do not forget to enroll in Summer, the free AFT member benefit, for help in managing your student loans.

Black History Month Lesson Plans and Resources 

Teaching about Black History is an essential and important part of any history curriculum and an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of Black people throughout history, and also serves as an opportunity to acknowledge and learn about the struggles and injustices of the past and present. By incorporating these lessons into our curriculum, we not only acknowledge the diversity of our society, but also gain a deeper understanding of our shared history and the ways in which it has shaped our world today. 

Review sample resources from AFT Share My Lesson curriculum-spanning collection of free preK-12 lesson plans and activities, then begin your lesson planning here.

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! 

In solidarity,

Terrence Martin


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