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President Biden is a “Union Man”

Last Tuesday, the AFT provided me with the once in a lifetime experience of being at an official White House event.  I joined with about 1,999 folk from around the country on the White House lawn to celebrate  the Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower drug prices for seniors, advance a green economy, and do so much more (all paid for by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy). All that was meaningful and fun.  But what truly impacted me was the number of times President Biden praised union workers in his remarks.  The next day at the Detroit Auto Show, he did the same.  At the White House event, the President was introduced by a member of the IBEW.  At the Auto Show, a UAW local president had the honor.

Mistie Ryan (L), Lake Shore Fed of Teachers President and Toni Coral (R), Hamtramck Fed of Teachers President, meet President Biden at the Detroit Auto Show.

We have all heard the President speak of union members building this country, providing quality work and being  essential for achieving economic justice and more.  But sitting there in the sweltering heat, well it hit me as more than just words.  This is who the man is. He believes in the history and future of organized labor.  I think it may be possible that President Biden has mentioned unions in a positive way more than all other presidents in my lifetime combined.

This is the kind of person we need in the White House and  the kind of person we need in all public offices. I know I have said this many, many times–elections matter–be they for President, Governor, education boards, township clerk, or drain commissioner.  

Student Debt? Your Union Can Help: Student Debt Clinic 9/22, 5pm

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 (PSLF) program before the expansion period ends on 10/31/22. Millions of Americans have been denied PSLF since 2007 and this expansion period is to make up for those who’ve been rejected or who never applied for it in the first place.

Join AFT Michigan for a Student Debt Clinic webinar on Thursday, 9/22/22 from 5:00-6:30pm!  To register: please visit and select “MICHIGAN: AFT-Michigan *WEBINAR* 5 PM 09/22/2022” in the dropdown.  Select your local name or # (You can type in parts of it and it will auto-fill), fill in the brief questionnaire, and hit “submit.”

Questions?  Reach out to Meenakshi Mukherjee (

AFT Michigan Members Appointed to AFT Committees

I’m excited to report that a significant number of AFT Michigan leaders have been appointed to national AFT committees.

  • Terrence Martin, AFT Michigan Secretary-Treasurer and President of the Detroit Federation of Teachers: Organizing, Climate, Civil and Human Rights committees
  • Eric Rader, President of the Henry Ford Community College Federation of Teachers:  Civil and Human Rights and LGBTQIA committees and Higher Education Program & Policy Council
  • Jane Mazza, President of the Dearborn Federation of Teachers: Civil and Human Rights Committee
  • Eva Coleman, President of the Michigan Alliance of Charter School Teachers and Staff: Civil and Human Rights Committee
  • Jill Hasen, President of the United Physician Assistants of Michigan Medical: Health Care Program & Policy Council
  • Daniel Aubert, President of WSU AAUP-AFT: Higher Education Program & Policy Council
  • Donna Jackson, President of the Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals: PSRP Program & Policy Council
  • Marina Russo, AFT Michigan Vice-President for Retirees:  Retiree Committee
  • Lakia Wilson, Executive Vice-President of the Detroit Federation of Teachers: Teachers Program & Policy Council
  • Lincoln Stocks, President of the Eastpointe Federation of Educators: Teachers Program & Policy Council
  • Toni Coral, President of the Hamtramck Federation of Teachers: Teachers Program & Policy Council
  • Jackie Goosen, President of the Macomb ISD Federation of Teachers: Women’s Rights Committee
  • Jeff Whittle, immediate past president of Macomb ISD Paraprofessionals: PSRP Program & Policy Council
  • Arthur Divers, Detroit Teachers Retiree Chapter: Retiree Committee

I will continue to co-chair our national union’s Organizing Committee and serve on the State Federation Advisory Board. Thank you to all for serving.

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! 

Spirit of Democracy Rally: September 29

Our democracy depends on people of good faith stepping up to making it work for everybody. We are proud to partner with All Voting Is Local to celebrate the Spirit of Democracy in downtown Detroit at Spirit Plaza on September 29th at 5:30pm. Rally goers can expect an evening of community building, ice cream and celebrating everyday people doing their part to make our democracy strong. RSVP now to take action and show your spirit!

Upcoming Union Building Events

Student Debt ClinicThursday, Sept 22, 20225:00 – 6:30 pmClick for Details and Registration
Fall Leadership SummitSaturday, Sept. 24, 20229:00am – 3:00 pmClick for Details and Registration
New Officer OrientationThursday, Oct. 6, 20225:00 – 6:30 pmClick for Details and Registration

Professional Development

Untold History: Videos for Hispanic Heritage Month

Try these new video stories and discussion questions to engage students in the significant contributions of Hispanic Americans to our economy, history, culture and society.

Teaching Democratic Principles and Protected Freedoms

The Albert Shanker Institute and Share My Lesson are launching a series of teach-in webinars on the Constitution and principles of the Constitution, such as the rule of law, constitutional freedoms, the Civil War amendments dealing with slavery, voter rights and tribal sovereignty. These teach-ins will provide the content knowledge on the rights granted in the Constitution with teachable strategies for the classroom. It will also tackle the very issues that are eroding our democracy and our freedoms today, from banning books to failing to make all kids feel safe and welcome in school.

Whether you teach history, civics, math or science, or are a parent or guardian, this series has something for everyone. It is the responsibility of all of us to understand our rights as citizens and residents of the United States, and that starts with understanding the Constitution. Join us for this fall’s six-part webinar series, A More United America: Teaching Democratic Principles and Protected Freedoms.

Register for all sessions now. 

In solidarity

David Hecker


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