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Hispanic/Latino(a)/Latinx Heritage and the Labor Movement

The U.S. celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15-October 15 (September 15 is significant as the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16 and Chile on September 18). People who identify as Hispanic or Latino are descended from ancestors who built this land from its earliest days — Indigenous Americans, enslaved Africans, and immigrants from Europe and around the world.

In the 20th century, Latino labor organizing was perhaps most prominent in the food industry. Millions of us were inspired by the heroic struggle of farmworkers for humane conditions in our fields and orchards, from the United Farm Workers of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to more recent examples like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

AFT’s Share My Lesson has a collection of lesson plans and resources for educators to incorporate into your practice:

There are many ways for Hispanic/Latino(a)/Latinx members to get more involved in the labor movement:

LEO Secures New Contract

After nine hard months of negotiations with the University of Michigan administration, lecturers in Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn finally have a new contract! The new agreement between the Lecturers’ Employee Organization and the University includes historic gains, most importantly achieving a goal LEO has pursued for many years–the same minimum salary across all three campuses. Wherever they teach, lecturers will make a minimum of $51,000 per year by 2023-24. Gains for current lecturers will also be impressive, with the median salary in Dearborn and Flint increasing by more than $12,000 over the life of the contract. The contract also includes longevity raises, increased job security provisions, enhanced sick pay, the title “teaching professor” for longer-serving lecturers, and guaranteed annual raises of at least 2.25%, 2.75%, and 3.25%.

The contract comes after months of activism by union members on all three campuses, the threat of a walkout, and advocacy by members of the Board of Regents. Members voted to ratify the agreement with a 96.6% “yes” vote. Congratulations!

Support COVID Safety at Western Michigan University

On Wednesday, Sept. 22 from 12:00-3:00 PM TAU, PIO and their other union colleagues at WMU will be demonstrating, calling for better workplace safety measures. The WMU administration has failed to implement policies that adequately protect students, faculty, and staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Sign our petition to call on Western admin to meet with WMU labor leaders to discuss and implement common sense policies that are urgently needed to create safe working and learning environments.

AFT Can Help Reduce Your 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.

Upcoming Union-Building Workshops

Are you going to be on your local’s bargaining team this year? Maybe? Sign up for our Collective Bargaining workshop starting Tuesday!

Collective Bargaining 101 (3 Sessions)Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
5:00 PM6:30 PM
Treasurer Tuesday: Tracking Revenue (Cash In)Tuesday, September, 21, 20217:00 PM8:30 PM
Treasurer Tuesday: Tracking Payments (Cash Out)Tuesday, October 5, 20217:00 PM8:30 PM
Local Organizing StructuresThursday, October 7, 20215:00 PM6:30 PM
Contract Enforcement 101 (3 Sessions)Tuesday, October 12, 20215:00 PM6:30 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! 

Upcoming Professional Development 

AFT Michigan Virtual Workshop 

What is My Teacher Identity?

October 2, 2021 

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

This workshop will support professional growth through an examination of research-based approaches to build teacher efficacy, agency, and working collectively with all stakeholders to foster successful relationships with students, peers, and families. Also educators will explore how various aspects of their personal and social identities uniquely form who they are as professionals and impact teaching and learning.

Click here for more information and to register.

In solidarity, 

David Hecker, President

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