Former UPTF Member and Journalist Danny Fenster Remains Detained in Myanmar
As we previously reported Danny Fenster, former WSU Union of Part Time Faculty member and managing editor for Frontier Myanmar, was detained at Yangon International Airport in May and is reportedly being held at Insein Prison in Myanmar. Since the military coup in February, nearly forty journalists have been detained by the government for reporting on the protests following the military’s seizing of power following the election of Ms Suu Kyi and the NLD party. Since his arrest and imprisonment, many organizations have spoken up in his support, including the AFT, Wayne State University, members of Congress, and the U.S. State Department. Show your support for Danny by tweeting:
“We join the US State Dept in calling for the release of Danny Fenster, a US journalist in Myanmar and former @uptf477 @AFTunion member at @waynestate, who’s been detained for 4 months: rb.gy/e8z6cd, @APALAnational”
GEU Calls on MSU to “Wake Up” on COVID
Friday night, the Graduate Employees Union at Michigan State University, AFT Local 6196, held a Wide Awake event outside University President Samuel Stanley’s MSU-owned residence protesting the administration’s lack of transparency concerning Covid-19 infections on campus, their failure to uphold an MOU allowing modality of classes, and the lack of accommodations for disabled employees. GEU members and allies (including the Union of Non-Tenure Track Faculty, AFT Local 1855, sang chants and gave speeches to bring awareness of the unsafe campus conditions resulting from MSU’s policy failures. Because the university is now refusing to notify instructors of Covid positive cases in their classrooms, the potential for community spread has exponentially grown with the rise of the highly contagious delta variant. The goal of the protest, as put by GEU member Michael Albani, is that “we don’t just want you (MSU administration) to hear us and see us, we want (the university) to take action.”
Media Techs Join Lake Shore Federation of Educational Secretaries
Congratulations to the media techs who work for Lake Shore Public Schools and are now part of AFT Local 6195. Thank you to LSFES President Kim DeCruydt and the entire local leadership team for being proactive and welcoming these new members into our union family.
Hamtramck Federation of Teachers Partners with District to Attract and Retain Educators
Great work by the Hamtramck Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1052, for proactively working out an agreement with the administration to address the district’s need to attract and retain great teachers and paraprofessionals. The Destination Hamtramck plan will provide $7000 to teachers and $4500 to paras who stay with the district through 2024, up to $1000/year in attendance incentives, and $500 referral bonuses for members who help recruit new hires. Thank you to President Toni Coral and Superintendent Jaleelah Hassan Ahmed for your collaboration in the service of Hamtramck students and educators.
WMU-PIO Celebrates New Contract
Congratulations to the Professional Instructors Organization at Western Michigan University, AFT Local 1903, for ratifying a new contract. In addition to compensation for instructors earning minimum salaries, a key win is a bonus for long-serving instructors who achieve Instructor II status. This marks the first time since the Instructor II designation was established in 2016 that WMU has acknowledged that this merit-based status deserves compensation. Congrats to the hard-working bargaining team and to PIO members, who successfully organized on-campus actions to help win their contract and build solidarity.
New Contract for Full-Time Faculty & Academic Staff at WSU
Congratulations to AAUP-AFT Local 6075 on a new contract, ratified September 21. Faculty and academic staff will receive a 2% lump sum in the first year of the new contract, with an additional 4.25% increase in base pay over years two and three and also improved shared governance, childcare support and parental leaves. In addition, the title of lecturers and senior lecturers will now be changed to assistant/associate/professor (teaching) with new promotion lines established. Great work by AAUP-AFT President Danielle Aubert, Chief Negotiator Ricardo Villarosa, past president Charlie Parrish, and the entire local leadership team.
State PreK-12 and Higher Education Budgets Finalized
In June, the legislature passed a historic PreK-12 School Aid Fund with a combination of $3.5 billion in state revenue and federal one time monies. The budget increased the per pupil foundation allowance from $171 to $342 up to $8,700 per pupil, closing the funding gap dating back to 1994 Prop A. The final school aid budget totals over $17 billion and allocated funds as follows:
- $$418.5 million for Great Start Readiness Program; effectively removing all 22,000 children from the waitlist
- $240 million for high-need districts to hire psychologists, social workers, counselors and nurses
- $524.5 million to support at-risk youth
- $53.9 million for mental health supports
- $49.4 million increase to Special Education
- $71.9 million for ISDs
Last week the Legislature and the Governor reached a final agreement on this year’s budget, which will include a 1% increase in the base funding and a 4% one time increase for all community colleges and universities. In last year’s budget all schools received a one time 4% increase utilizing federal funds to address COVID issues and this year’s budget will effectively maintain that increase using state funds.
Upcoming Union-Building Workshops
Are you a building rep, steward, or other worksite leader who wants to address the issues you and your colleagues deal with every day? Sign up for Contract Enforcement 101 – starting Tuesday, October 12!
|Treasurer Tuesday: Tracking Payments (Cash Out)||Tuesday, October 5, 2021||7:00 PM||8:30 PM|
|Local Organizing Structures||Thursday, October 7, 2021||5:00 PM||6:30 PM|
|Contract Enforcement 101 (3 Sessions)||Tuesday, October 12, 2021||5:00 PM||6:30 PM|
|Contract Campaign Planning Workshop||Wednesday, October 13, 2021||5:00 PM||6:30 PM|
|Treasurer Tuesday: Billhighway Cleanup & Accounting||Tuesday, October 19, 2021||7:00 PM||8:30 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 https://aftmichigan.org/pac/ 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.
AFT, First Book Partner for Hispanic Heritage Month
The AFT is teaming up with First Book in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month to offer members a $25 credit for free books to help fill classrooms with books highlighting Hispanic authors, characters and cultures. Register here, check out the Latino collection on First Book Marketplace, and use the promo code AFTHHM2021 at checkout. “Underneath all learning, all thriving, all recovery from this pandemic is the ability for our children to heal in the joy of reading,” says AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus.
Also, check out Share My Lesson’s curated collection that is available to allow educators to commemorate Hispanic Americans’ histories, cultures and contributions with students. These preK-12 activities, lesson plans and classroom resources will help engage your students and bring new ideas to life.
David Hecker, President