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AAUP Affiliates with AFT

Delegates to the biennial meeting of the American Association of University Professors voted this past Saturday to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers, joining forces to build a more powerful and inclusive academic labor movement that will be better able to take on the challenges facing higher education as well as the threats to our democracy. The vote brings together two organizations representing more than 300,000 higher education faculty members overall, the largest such alliance in the country.

In Michigan, this means that the AAUP chapters at Oakland, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Northern Michigan and Kalamazoo Valley Community College will become joint AAUP-AFT locals this fall (Wayne State AAUP-AFT Local 6075 has been jointly affiliated since 1999).  

We are very excited about these chapters joining AFT Michigan, building our strength at EMU, WMU and KVCC and expanding our reach to Oakland and Northern Michigan Universities, where we do not already have locals. Details of how this will be worked out across the country will be hammered out by the AFT/AAUP National Implementation Committee.  I appreciate Randi Weingarten appointing me to this Committee and extend a warm welcome to our new members.

2022 AFT Michigan Pride Picnic

Over 20 AFT Michigan members, staff and their families came out to celebrate Pride this past Friday, June 17, in Ann Arbor. We enjoyed good food and even better company with folks from LEO & LEO-GLAM (Local 6244), WSU-GEOC (Local 6123), HFCCFT (Local 1650), MCCFO (Local 6526), KVCCFT (Local 2412), & AFT Michigan staff. Special thanks to the members of the new and quickly growing AFT Michigan Queer Caucus for planning this fun event!

The AFT Michigan Queer Caucus meets this month virtually on Tuesday, June 28, at 4pm. The Queer Caucus is open to any AFT Michigan member or paid staff person who identifies as LGBTQIA+. Queer Caucus meets monthly to socialize, build strong & inclusive unions, and connect professionally as dedicated workers with queer identities.

Interested in getting involved in Queer Caucus? Let us know by visiting or by contacting Erin Lavin (

Forgive Student Debt

My column in this month’s Michigan Advance is about the importance of the federal government forgiving student debt, including answering some of the criticisms of this approach.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Public Money for Religious Schools

With their decision today in Carson v. Makin, the U.S.Supreme Court ruled that religious schools must be eligible for a Maine program that provides public money to public and private schools. Based on the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the foundation of the separation of church and state, Maine’s program did not include religious schools.  However, by a 6 – 3 party line vote, the Republican Justices ignored this long standing interpretation of the Constitution and ruled that if money is offered to private schools, that must include parochial schools.  Of course, we strongly oppose any public money going to any private school, and are fighting that in Michigan through our legislative efforts, a multi-year lawsuit, and opposing Betsy DeVos’ latest voucher scheme.

Celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month in Detroit

The Wayne State AAUP-AFT Local 6075, the Spanish Learning Community , Global Ties Detroit, and the Latinx Faculty & Staff Association present Celebrating Ethnic Detroit: the Heritage and Journeys of Latino/a/x and other communities!

WHERE: La Plaza del Sol in Southwest Detroit, 3041 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48216 

WHEN: June 30, 6pm – 8pm 

Click here for more information

Union Carpenters and Millwrights Skilled Training Center Grand Opening

In what was a shining moment for the labor movement, last Wednesday the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights and the Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund held a grand opening for their new $30 million, 145,000 square-foot training center in Detroit. As I toured the state-of-the-art facility I saw classrooms, offices, and expansive hand-on training areas to support the next generation of carpenters, millwrights, and floor layers as they begin their careers and build the future of Michigan. The Center is another example of the incredibly important role organized labor plays in building our communities. Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, UBC General President Douglas J. McCarron, and other special guests helped cut the ribbon to officially open the center. For more information about starting an apprenticeship, visit

Apple Store and Michigan Starbucks Go Union

By a vote of 65 to 33, workers at an Apple store outside Baltimore have formed the tech giant’s first retail union in the United States, joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Just this month four Starbucks stores in Ann Arbor, and stories in Ypsilanti, Flint, Clinton Township, Lansing Township and East Lansing voted to become union. Starbucks and Apple ran anti-union campaigns to try to defeat the campaign, hiring the same union-avoidance law firm, making these victories even more significant.

How do we help these workers?  Obviously, by frequenting these unionized stores.  But also by building membership and activism in our locals so that we have a stronger and more effective labor movement.  This is a special time for union organizing, a time we must seize to build the movement our country needs.

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! 

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