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“Sometimes You Just Need To Apply Common Sense”

These were the words an elderly veteran of the U.S. Marines I spoke with during my canvassing for Prop 3 this past Saturday afternoon.  He had already voted and in response to my asking if he voted for Prop 3, he said “Yes, sometimes you just need to apply common sense.”

For eight years educators and organized labor were attacked while Rick Snyder was governor and the Republicans controlled the state legislature.  Michigan became a right-to-work state, K-12 lost payroll deduction of dues, while discipline and discharge, evaluations, placement and assignment became prohibited subjects of bargaining for teachers, and retiree pensions were taxed.  Moreover, his initial budget cut education funding and raised taxes on the low income, all to give business a tax break.

Common sense tells us we don’t want to go back to those days.  Common sense also tells us that wishes and hopes accomplish nothing, doing the work does.  History tells us that we should not expect continued record setting education budgets and vetoes on voter suppression and vouchers if Governor Whitmer loses and the state legislature remains in Republican control, a legislature where a Democratic introduced bill will not even get a hearing by the Republican controlled committees. 

So how do we apply common sense during the two weeks prior to Election Day?  Give a few hours to knock on doors or phone bank for our endorsed candidates and ballot proposals.   We can hope, we can wish or we can apply common sense and canvass. To those who have canvassed and/or given to PAC, thank you.  To others, two – three hours. We all have demands on our time, but two-three hours over two weeks is not asking a lot, but can change the future of public education, rights and benefits for educators and health care workers, and what we are all able to provide our families and communities.  It’s just common sense.

Saturday: Join Randi Weingarten as We Canvass in Taylor Sunday: Canvass in Ann Arbor

We have partnered with the Michigan Education Association and the ONE Campaign to host Red for Ed canvasses every Saturday through the November election. Come join your fellow union members and canvass to help elect pro-public education and pro-labor candidates. Below you will find our launch locations, dates, times and registration links. See you all there!

Saturday, October 29, 2022 10:00 a.m.

Taylor, MI

Sunday, October 30, 2022 1:00 p.m.

Ann Arbor, MI

AFT Michigan Advocating for Proposals 1, 2 and 3

Last week, the Detroit News ran an op-ed from me and businesswoman Lizabeth Ardisana, one of my co-chairs of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition, in support of Proposal 2. If adopted, Proposal 2 would expand access to voting. We are also very involved with Proposal 1 –Financial Disclosure and Term Limits–and Proposal 3–Reproductive Rights.  This weekend I was very impressed that  twelve members of the Lecturers Employee Organization, after a long union meeting at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, headed over to the Dearborn Federation of Teachers office to pick up lists and literature to canvass for Prop 3.  That’s commitment.  That’s caring.  That’s making a difference.

EMUFT Solidarity With Carpenters

Last Thursday, EMU Federation of Teachers President Daric Thorne addressed the University’s Board of Regents about a number of issues, including payroll problems.  But Daric also spoke of an issue involving the Carpenters Union.  EMU is building dorms and while some of the work is being done union, a chunk of the work, including the carpentry work, is being done non-union. So in a great display of union solidarity, Daric included this issue in his remarks. The Carpenters Union has been a tremendous supporter of our issues in Lansing over the years–when we ask them for support they always say yes.  That’s what solidarity is all about.

Member Spotlight: Jennifer Maas, Macomb ISD Federation of Paras, Local 6216

Congratulations to Jennifer Maas, president of Macomb ISD Federation of Paraprofessionals (Local 6216) and junior high paraprofessional, who was nominated by Jeff Whittle (her predecessor as local president): 

“Jennifer ran for vice president of our local. When no one ran for the president position she stepped up and took over the Presidency as an appointment. As any current or former local president will attest, it is a life altering job. Jennifer stepped in and started driving immediately. The work her and her executive board have been and are doing is nothing short of spectacular. 

Right away Jennifer started following up on language changes and program implementations contained in the newly bargained contract. She coalesced around the new officers and developed a plan for going forward. 

Jennifer started working with the executive board members, new and senior, putting things in place and covering issues. What she has done for not only her local and membership, but her diligence to labor and public education is a shining example for everyone. Not to mention she has two kids and is finishing up her continuing education and graduating next month using the AFT benefit of Eastern Gateway college.  I cannot think of a better example of such recognition for AFT Michigan’s membership spotlight.    

Jennifer Maas has worked tirelessly as the new President of Local 6216. She has contributed to continuing work and upholding the work done previously, but also improving the local for long-term growth. Jennifer won her building’s paraprofessional of the year award last school year, speaking volumes about her dedication to students and education. She brings that dedication to her presidency position as well.”

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!

For Progress, We All Must Do Our Part

My October Michigan Advance column is about the need for everyone to participate in the election process by giving a few hours to talk with voters and contribute funds as can be afforded. If we want to see positive change we have to work for it.  Voting is everyone’s responsibility, but it is not enough.

Support USW Local 1299 Rally on Oct. 28 at 3:30 pm

Join USW Local 1299 Steelworker family in a rally to convey to U.S Steel Corporation the importance of fair & equitable wages, affordable and accessible health care, safe working conditions, sustainable pensions, benefits on Friday, October 28, 2022 at 3:30pm at USW Local 1299 on 11424 W. Jefferson Ave. River Rouge, MI 48218. 

U.S Steel Corporation (USS) has made record profits and can afford to increase their CEO Dave Burritt’s salary by 30% and provide him with a total compensation of over 60% between 2018- 2021 from profits made by our union represented brothers and sisters. USS can afford to meet the industry standard for their workers!

So, join us in the fight to take a stand against corporate greed. Please share the attached flier with your organizations’ members, family and friends.  Let’s show Burritt and company how unions and how communities are ” Forged Together” in solidarity in labor!

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

David Hecker


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