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March is Women’s History Month

AFT has long organized at the intersection of worker’s rights and gender equity. Most of our locals represent predominantly female memberships, and our collective bargaining agreements are a key tool in the fight for wage equity and against gender-based discrimination of all forms. Lists like the one below show just how much control over the private lives of (female) teachers school districts tried to enforce in the pre-union era.

There’s many ways you can get involved in the continuing fight for justice today:

  • Attend the UM Center for Labor and Community Studies “Workers Rise!” School for Women Workers April 21st-23rd in-person at UM-Dearborn.  Read more about the workshops being held here, which include: Women in the Trades, Find your Voice, Stewards and Committee Persons Training.  AFT Michigan is sending a handful of interested members, please reach out to Meenakshi Mukherjee ( to place your name in a drawing.

AFT and AAUP Joining Forces

Over the weekend, the executive council of  the AFT and the leadership body of the American Association of University Professors voted to move forward with an agreement providing for AAUP’s affiliation with the AFT.  Once it is approved by the AAUP’s delegate assembly in June, the agreement will bring together two unions representing more than 300,000 faculty, grads and staff across the country.

We look forward to AAUP chapters at Oakland, Western, Eastern, Northern and Kalamazoo Valley Community College becoming joint locals.  At the state level we have worked with some of these chapters, and many locals have done the same at the institutional level.   It will be great to further solidify our relationship and welcome these locals into the AFT and AFL-CIO.

The Dearborn Federation of Teachers, AFT Michigan’s second largest K-12 local, has long been a strong voice for educators in the community.  This week, we are honoring three DFT members nominated by their colleagues for the work they do inside their classrooms and within the union. Reflecting on these three leaders, local president Jane Mazza shared that she’s “been a member of  DFT for over 30 years and I have seen countless times when our staff has gone above and beyond to service our students and families.  All 1400-plus DFT681 members deserve this spotlight for the amazing and selfless work they have done during the last years. I’m honored to serve a membership that has continued to show the community compassion and care through this challenging time in education.”

  • Christine Wilkie, a Special Education Resource Teacher and proud DFT member for 26 years, is kind and compassionate to all staff and students.  She is hard-working and dedicated to her students’ growth and development.  Chris’s co-workers emphasize that she is always a dependable and reliable colleague.
  • Kathi Martin is a product of Dearborn Schools herself and has worked here as a Speech Language Pathologist for almost 20 years. She works so hard for all of the students on her caseload and always fights for kids to get the services that they need. During the shutdown, she mailed packets to her students (out of her own pocket!) so they would be able to continue to work on their goals. She is also very involved in the union and decided to run for a spot on the executive board last year. She fights for not only the teachers and staff but for her kids as well. 
  • Ammerah Saidi, a middle school teacher and recently became the first Yemeni-American elected member of the local executive board, has worked hard to activate Union members across the district. She has attracted colleagues to join the union and worked to increase engagement by making contract language more accessible and providing workshops explaining the benefits of union membership.

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!

Get Your Student Debt Forgiven 

More than 45 million people have student debt and many of them, including many AFT members and their families, are struggling with this burden. The AFT Student Debt Clinic program provides information about free federal programs that may help reduce the burden of this debt, while also highlighting the role that our union can play in addressing problems both within the workplace and in our communities. Additionally, the Student Debt Clinics provide crucial information and resources to help our members take advantage of the temporary expansion of the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program before the expansion period ends on 10/31/22.

To find out how you might shed your debt and reclaim your funds, you can attend the AFT’s virtual student debt clinics through March or check out the Summer debt counseling program, an online resource for AFT members to help navigate the student loan repayment landscape. 

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! 

Upcoming Union-Building Workshops

Treasurer Tuesday: Record Retention & Important DatesTuesday, March 15, 20227:00 PM8:30 PM
Labor & Social Movements Part I: Understanding Our HistoryThursday, March 24, 20225:00 PM6:30 PM
Labor & Social Movements Part II: How Our Movements are Connected in the Present DayThursday, March 31, 20225:00 PM6:30 PM

In solidarity, 

David Hecker


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