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.”

Proposed 10 Percent Pay Cut [8.19.14]

As you are aware, at the end of the school year the district announced unilateral changes to our healthcare plans, increasing our premiums. The district’s imposed healthcare changes violate our collective bargaining rights and we have been fighting this.

The leaders of DPS local unions were called to a meeting Friday where the district revealed its deficit reduction plan. In another example of its inept ability to address the issues plaguing Detroit school children, the district proposed another round of devastating cuts that not only do not help to better educate our children but also blatantly disrespect the hard work and sacrifice of the employees of DPS. The cuts include:

  • 10 percent pay cut for all employees
  • The closing of approximately 24 schools
  • The elimination of 375 positions (undisclosed)

We cannot stand for this. It is incumbent on all of us to stand up and fight back, for ourselves, and more important, the children of Detroit. The executive boards of all three AFT Detroit unions met yesterday to discuss how we are going to fight back. In the coming days and weeks we are going to need all members to stand together. We are in the process of executing a legal strategy but that is not enough.

On Thursday Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. we will have a telephone town hall meeting to share in further detail what is known and also to solicit your input on what you are willing to do. We will call members so all you have to do is answer the phone. If you believe that your union may not have the best phone number for you on file please call 313-875-3500 or email mweertz@dft231.com to update your records. In the meantime we need members to:

  • Turn out friends, family and parents to the Labor Day Parade to help spread the word and show solidarity
  • Assist in making signs for the Labor Day Parade on Aug. 27
  • Call and email Jack Martin (313-870-3772) jack.martin@detroitk12.org per his open door policy and share how these cuts will affect you
  • Participate in upcoming solidarity actions at the start of school.

This is the beginning of our fight back strategy. Since Gov. Snyder was elected, the employees and students of DPS have been under attack. This November we have an opportunity for real change by electing Mark Schauer and beginning to roll back the horrible education policies of the Snyder administration. This election cycle is our opportunity to stand up and say “Enough is Enough.” We must make a statement for our profession and the students we serve.

We will continue to build a stronger union in this fight with your support. Again please join us for this very important telephone town hall on Thursday to discuss further.

In solidarity,

AFT Detroit Leadership

Labor Day Parade Marshalls Needed [8.18.14]

Please sign up to be a Labor Day Parade marshall and attend a short meeting on Aug. 28 at the IBEW Hall. [Click here] for details.