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Meeting New Local Leaders

Strong local union leaders are essential to our effectiveness as a union.  We have been fortunate to have strong leaders, and the good news is I see that continuing. I make a practice of inviting new presidents to dinner to get to know them, talk about their local’s plans and see how best AFT Michigan can continue to be of assistance.  In the past week I met Kaki Prater, the president of our newest local, the Lincoln Consolidated Transportation Union, and Darrett Pullins, the new president of the Association of Adjunct Faculty of Macomb Community College In the coming weeks I’m looking forward to meeting the new presidents of our paraprofessional locals at the Midland ISD and Midland K-12 schools, Ferris Non Tenure Track Organization and the Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Michigan.  I will also be in Kalamazoo with the presidents of the American Association of University Professors locals at WMU and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, which are now joint AAUP-AFT unions.

Time to Care: Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Leave Increases May Be Restored

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Douglas Shapiro has ruled against Michigan Republicans and their efforts to delay and decrease the increases to our state’s minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements originally passed in 2018, but then gutted by the Republican-controlled legislature. As originally drafted, the initiatives would have increased the minimum wage to $12 by Jan. 1 of this year (up from the current $9.87), eliminated the much lower tipped wage by 2024, and required businesses to offer up to 72 hours of paid sick leave to employees each year. Hopefully this situation will get resolved and implemented quickly so that workers across the state can start getting these bare minimum improvements that voters intended.

Fighting Against Voter Suppression

My July Michigan Advance column concerns the very real situation of businesses and organizations that are contributing to politicians that support voter suppression even though the organizations claim to oppose it. While most of the leaders of these organizations would say they are focused on advancing their business’s issues and that they oppose voter suppression, I believe that the issue of voting rights is so fundamental that they should reconsider.   

Primary Election: Tuesday, August 2

Michigan’s primary election will be held next Tuesday, August 2 – please make sure you and your family have a plan to vote!

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

Prep for the New School Year

Join AFT’s Share My Lesson for all-new webinars running July 26-Aug. 4. These free, for-credit professional development sessions are great for summertime learning and preparing for the new school year. Register now!

Tuesday, July 26, 1 p.m. EDT | Understanding Learner Variability Within Culturally Responsive Practices Digital Promise – Grades PreK-12

2 p.m. EDT | Missing Migration Narratives in American History Re-Imagining Migration – Grades 6-12+

3 p.m. EDT | Take Your Classroom Back: Starting the New Year with the Authority of Care Amber Chandler, author and educator – Grades 6-12+

Wednesday, July 27, 1 p.m. EDT | Developing Active Citizens: A View from the Classroom

Indiana University Center on Representative Government – Grades K-12

2 p.m. EDT | Podcast-Inspired, Solutions-Driven Climate Education Environmental Solutions Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Grades 6-12+

3 p.m. EDT | E Pluribus Unum: Discussing Partisanship and Common Ground in the Classroom Constitutional Rights Foundation – Grades 9-12

Thursday, July 28, 1 p.m. EDT | Teaching Social Justice and Equity in the ELA Classroom: The Quad Text Set Approach University of Delaware Partnership for Public Education – Grades 6-12

2 p.m. EDT | Rethinking Small Group Work: Unlocking Language to Accelerate Students’ Literacy Connie Jacquays, educator – Grades 2-6

3 p.m. EDT | The Underrepresented Voices of 9/11: Elevating Courage, Compassion and Commitment  National September 11 Memorial & Museum – Grades 6-12

Tuesday, Aug. 2, 1 p.m. EDT | How to Support Adolescents’ Social Emotional Growth in Middle School Peekapak – Grades 6-8

3 p.m. EDT | What’s Next? Addressing Mental Health in Students in a Time of COVID-19

National Alliance on Mental Illness – Grades K-12

Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2 p.m. EDT | Addressing Bullying Behavior in Your Classroom: Informing and Enhancing Your Practice WE Teachers/WE Schools – Grades K-12

3 p.m. EDT | Managing the Differentiated Classroom Barbara Blackburn, author – Grades K-12

Thursday, Aug. 4, 2 p.m. EDT | When ESL and Content Teachers Collaborate for ELLs: A Discussion Group Susan Lafond, NYSUT; Lydia Breiseth, Colorín Colorado – Grades K-12

3 p.m. EDT | Mental Health in the Classroom Young Minds Inspired and On Our Sleeves, Nationwide Children’s Hospital – Grades 1-8

AFT Share My Lesson is now a New York State Education Department-approved provider for Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) requirements and an Illinois State Board of Education-approved professional development provider.

If you can’t make the time, register anyway to have the link to access the on-demand webinars emailed to you as soon as they are ready. Be sure to forward these sessions to colleagues, too.

In solidarity, 

David Hecker


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