Door-to-Door Walk in Solidarity with Our Students

What: Door-to-door walk of solidarity in support of our students
Who:  Committed DPS staff who will share their stories
When: Tuesday, August 26th at 4 p.m.
Where: Eastside                                  Westside
             Ronald Brown Academy         Samuel Gompers Elementary               
             11530 Outer Dr., Detroit         14450 Burt Rd, Detroit 

We’ll go door-to-door to let parents and students know that we’re committed to education. We’ll also make them aware of the impending increase to class size and school closures.

Call our office at (313) 875-3500 and let us know you plan to attend.

Message from DFT President [8.21.14]

DFT Members,
Like all of you, I am infuriated by the revised Deficit Elimination Plan submitted by the Emergency Manager, which includes the 10 percent reduction of salaries effective Oct. 1. This is on top of the restructured health care plan imposed on us, as well as the previous 10 percent pay reduction we've endured since 2011.

DPS cannot cut its way to prosperity, particularly at the expense of the employees whose salaries and benefits are not the reason it is on the brink of bankruptcy.

While some within the DFT are clamoring for some sort of walkout, such an action AT THIS TIME would undermine current efforts to avert the cuts. I urge you NOT to engage in any sort of walkout. The DFT has always prided itself in being a SOLUTION-BASED union and that is currently our focus; to develop a solution. I assure you we will not agree to anything that adversely impacts our membership.

Executive Vice-President Edna Reaves is leading our "fight back" actions recommended by you. We are asking all of our members to participate in these actions. Report to work on Monday, Aug. 25 and be ready to receive students on Tuesday, Sept. 2. As we demand that the district abides by the terms of our collective bargaining agreement, we also ask our members to do the same by reporting to work.

If our parents believe the start of school is in jeopardy, then we risk losing students, and the district risks losing funds. We risk losing our leverage should it become necessary to present a legal challenge to these changes in wages and benefits.

The DFT and the Coalition of Unions are already engaged in grievances challenging the health care changes and those efforts will continue. There has been a public outcry and condemnation of the revised DEP from parents, community leaders, as well as district employees, unionized and non-union alike. This condemning of the DEP has not gone unnoticed. We are currently engaged in substantive discussions, which COULD avert the need for the 10 percent pay cut, and those discussions have been productive.

I know you want the DFT to act immediately, and we have. We are voicing our disgust while mobilizing our members and proposing alternate solutions that will negate the need for a pay cut. I ask you to remember that the two previous times we challenged the EM in court, we prevailed. This occurred because we stayed unified in these fights. We are asking you to demonstrate that same trust as we combat this latest challenge.TOGETHER WE WILL PREVAIL!

In Solidarity,
Keith R. Johnson, DFT President


Thank You Community! [8.20.14]

Dozens of parents, community members, and school staff gathered today at Ludington Middle School to tell Gov. Snyder he needs to reject the current DPS plan because it does nothing but continue to destroy and dismantle our school district.

As you can see, the parents clearly understand the type of devastation this plan will yield and Snyder needs to listen to them. We are here to provide the students of Detroit Public Schools the best education possible and this plan does the exact opposite. Raising class sizes, closing schools, and reducing wages makes it impossible to attract the best and brightest personnel to educate our students. This significantly undermines the futures of DPS students.

We stand in solidarity with the parents and community members calling on Snyder to reject this plan and tell Emergency Manager Jack Martin to come to the table, engage all stakeholders, and design a plan that moves DPS forward educationally.

-Edna Reaves, DFT Executive Vice President

5 Actions to Fight Back! [8.20.14]

Here are actions the Coalition of Unions has planned based on members' suggestions. Mark your calendars for the following events and make your calls today. Tomorrow night's tele-town hall will give us further input on how we can fight back in additional ways and plan for upcoming events.

  1. Call Gov. Snyder and tell him to reject DPS' plan. Call (517) 335-7858 or (517) 373-3400.
  2. Tele-town hall Thursday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. Be sure your union has an updated phone number for you. Members will receive an automated call to participate in the tele-town hall.
  3. Door-to-door walk of solidarity in support of our students, Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 4 p.m. Details will be shared on the tele-town hall call and the DFT website.
  4. Rally at the Fisher building, Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 4 p.m.
  5. Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 1 step off at 9 a.m. AFT Michigan meet-up is at Michigan Ave. and 10th street (near Trumbull).

Schauer Speaks on DPS Cuts [8.19.14]

Mark Schauer, Democratic candidate for governor, issued the following statement today on the Detroit Public Schools' deficit elimination plan that calls for the closing of 24 schools and a pay cut of 10 percent for staff:

"We are yet again seeing the devastating effects of Gov. Snyder's $1 billion
in cuts to education. Detroit is just one of the many school districts all over
the state that are reeling under Snyder's cuts. His policies are robbing some of
our most vulnerable students of the education they need to get ahead in life.
They're also likely to drive teachers away from the classrooms as their
paychecks keep getting smaller and it gets harder for them to make ends meet. We can and must do better to support our students, schools and educators. As
governor, I will fight to reverse Snyder's deep cuts to education and work to
ensure that all children have access to a top-notch education, regardless of
their ZIP code."

DFT Statement on Proposed Cuts [8.19.14]

Snyder must reject continued cuts to DPS that hurt students, teachers and communities 

Detroit Public Schools announced it would be making significant cuts that will harm Detroit students and communities.

“This latest proposed move by DPS to increase class sizes, close schools, call for more layoffs, force higher health care payments and implement another 10 percent wage cut must be rejected by Gov. Rick Snyder,” said Edna Reaves, DFT executive vice president“Gov. Snyder needs to do the right thing and scrap this proposal."

In a district with fewer and fewer school-age children, it is unconscionable to open the system up to unlimited charters schools with no quality control, or to force schools into an experimental district, like the Education Achievement Authority, that is clearly failing.

“How do we keep and attract the best and the brightest teachers and staff with yet another 10 percent wage cut and increased payments for health care?” Reaves asked. “We call on Gov. Snyder to turn down DPS’ proposed deficit elimination plan and work with the community, teachers and staff to address our students’ needs and rebuild DPS.

"The rank and file employees of DPS pour their hearts and souls into their work and will do what is necessary to prevent harmful cuts to vulnerable student populations. 

“Our members will fight this in the streets, in the courts and at the ballot box in November,” Reaves said. “The members of AFT Detroit care about Detroit’s children and cannot allow the DPS proposed plan to stand.”