In Uncategorized

September 13, 2021

Detroit Paras Leader Featured in TIME Magazine

Congratulations to Jaqueline Washington, DPSCD School Culture Facilitator and member of the Executive Board of the Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals, Local 2350, who is featured in the latest issue of TIME: alongside many other great educators who “saved the school year.” Like so many of our members, particularly PreK-12 support staff, Jacqueline went above and beyond to help students, families, and the community through this unprecedented time.

Thank you and congratulations for this well-deserved recognition.

Gov. Whitmer Hosts Roundtable at Van Dyke Public Schools

Last Wednesday, Sept 8, 2021, Governor Whitmer held a roundtable at Lincoln High School with educators from Van Dyke. Governor asked the educators in attendance about how they were managing through the pandemic, what had been learned through the year of virtual, and how things were looking going forward. A major takeaway of the afternoon was how important the positive relationship built up between the district administration and the two AFT locals in the district has been in working through the pandemic in ways that kept everyone feeling safe and respected. Thank you to the Governor for coming and listening to educators and to Val Dutton, president of PPVD Local 6199 and Piper Bognar, superintendent of Van Dyke Public Schools, for leading the way in creating a strong partnership.

Detroit Fed of Teachers Ratifies New Contract

DFT Local 231 has ratified a 2-year contract that President Terrence Martin calls “the richest in DFT history.” Taking another step in the long climb out of the hole dug by emergency managers, starting pay in the district will now be $51,000, those at the top of the scale receive 4% raises each year, and many will receive longevity, hazard pay and retention bonuses. Congratulations President Terrence Martin, Executive Vice President Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins, and the entire DFT leadership team.

Reducing Student Debt

The AFT’s Summer benefit allows AFT members to enroll for free in Summer’s web-based student loan management platform ( Summer helps our members sign up for–and manage the paperwork for–income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, find other debt relief programs, and tailor student loan repayment options to their individual needs. 

More than ten thousand AFT members have already joined Summer and, on average, are reducing their payments by about $170 a month and saving more than $57,769 over the life of their loans. In our state, there are 360 AFT Michigan users saving an average of $208 per  month and $35,228 off the lifetime of their student loans.

You can start using Summer by creating and logging in to your AFT Member Benefits account ( Have a family member or friend who might benefit from Summer’s online tools? By becoming an AFT associate member (, they’ll be able to access Summer for free.

Hamtramck Back-to-School BBQ

I had the opportunity to join the Hamtramck Federation of Teachers, Local 1052, for their annual Back-to-School BBQ last week. We had some great food and most importantly the local signed up some new members! The HFT has many more events planned as they continue their efforts to build the strongest possible union heading into negotiations.

Drive SAFE Bills Hearing Tuesday

Whether we’re white, Black, or brown, longtime residents or newcomers, we all value our freedom. But freedom requires the ability to move around on your own terms. In Michigan, where driving is unavoidable, that means we all deserve the right to obtain a driver’s license, regardless of how long we’ve been here or what documentation we have. Together, we can make Michigan a place where everyone has freedom of movement. 

On Tuesday September 14th, there’s a legislative committee hearing on two bills (HB 4835 and 4836) that would restore the right of undocumented Michiganders to drivers’ licenses, and remove unnecessary obstacles to licenses for Michiganders with other forms of documentation. You can fill out a virtual support card and send an advocacy email (at the same time!!) here.

Upcoming Union-Building Workshops

Engaging union meetings can help increase member activism, and we have a workshop Thursday aimed at any union member who participates in developing or leading meetings, whether they be executive board members, committee chairs, or stewards. We’ll consider effective practices for before, during, and after meetings, as well as ideas for carrying out Zoom meetings.

Treasurer Tuesday: State & National Per CapsTuesday, September 14, 20217:00 PM7:30 PM
Planning and Running Effective MeetingsThursday, September 16, 20215:00 PM6:30 PM
Treasurer Overview: Introduction to Local Financial MgmtSaturday, September 18, 20219:00 AM12:30 PM
Collective Bargaining 101 (3 Sessions)Tuesday, September, 21, 20215:00 PM6:30 PM
Treasurer Tuesday: Tracking Revenue (Cash In)Tuesday, September, 21, 20217:00 PM8:30 PM

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 $52 a year to elect more candidates who share our values? Please visit and set up a recurring gift. For as little as $1 a week, YOU can make a big difference in protecting public education and building a better Michigan future! 

Pledge to Support Truth and Integrity in Michigan Schools, Colleges and Universities

I hope all of us can agree that students of all ages should be able to learn new skills and explore challenging ideas in an atmosphere of trust, respect, and openness.

But if you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard all kinds of divisive arguments about what folks DON’T want to see in schools. There have been threats to censor educators doing their best to teach our complex history, and politicized anger over attempts to put common sense safety precautions like masks in place to protect Michigan’s kids and the communities they are a part of.

This conversation has gotten out of hand. As part of the Michigan Education Justice Coalition, we’re calling on decision-makers to refocus on the priorities we know most parents care about regardless of politics—that our schools should be as safe for everyone as possible, that no child should be made to feel unwelcome because of who they are, and that students should learn the lessons they need to be prepared for today’s world.

Upcoming Professional Development 

AFT Michigan Virtual Workshop 

Promoting Race and Culture and Classroom Management

September 18, 2021 

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

This workshop will provide attendees an opportunity to explore research on culture and teaching. It will answer the question “why educators need to move beyond the superficial notions of student’s race and group culture but consider student’s individuality or group variability?” This new research will support educators developing strategies to enhance student achievement and promote effective classroom management.

Click here for more information and to register.

In solidarity, 

David Hecker, President

Recent Posts