Press Release: Teachers Union Blasts DPS Emergency Manager for Payless Payday & Escalating Payroll Foul-Ups

Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) President Steve Conn blasted Detroit Public Schools (DPS) Emergency Manager Darnell Earley for numerous and snowballing school district payroll problems. 

 “Our members are reporting that DPS failed to accurately pay hundreds of teachers today,” said Conn.   “Many members received pay that was short hundreds of dollars.  Others received nothing at all.”

“At this point there is still no word from DPS top officials as to what they plan to do to correct this matter, “ said Conn.  “This is at least the second major payroll problem in that many weeks.  And on top of those problems, DPS still owes hundreds of teachers numerous special payments for workshops and earned bonuses.”

The district already had delayed the current paycheck by a week in order to supposedly realign its payroll calendar with the 365-day year.  “But in doing that, they failed to properly notify the teachers, causing many to incur bank problems, including insufficient funds for automatic withdrawals, “said Conn.

“The problem is part bureaucratic incompetence and part not caring about the teachers, but the policies of the emergency manager are clearly designed to discourage teachers in hopes that they leave the district, which aides the governor’s agenda of dismantling public education in Detroit,“ said Conn.

Letter to the Executive Board and Members of the DFT

To the Executive Board and Members of the DFT,

I recently completed a set of discussions with AFT President Randi Weingarten, and AFT Regional Representative Bob Morganstern. We discussed, among other things, the fact that our local has not paid the per capita dues to the AFT and to the AFT Michigan since the new Executive Board took office in January 2015.

To remedy this problem, I agreed to pay the monies we owe to both the AFT and the AFT Michigan promptly. To do so, I will need three things:

1. I need the monthly assessments that were sent by the AFT and the AFT Michigan to the DFT so that we can compute the exact amount of money we owe each entity for each of the months since we assumed office.

2. If either Executive Vice President (VP) Bailey or Treasurer Broughton have already computed the amount we owe to each entity, and if they can supply that information to me along with the bills that we received, then I can ask either of them to provide me with the seven check requests so that we can identify the exact amount we are paying each entity each month for the back dues. I will promptly pay each entity and request Executive VP Bailey or Treasurer Broughton to supply a second signature.

3. If neither Executive VP Bailey or Treasurer Broughton have computed the monies that we owe to each entity, I will calculate the amount owed and submit the bill, my computation, and a check request to either of them for their second signature.

I have assured the AFT Michigan and AFT leadership that we will pay our subscriptions regularly on a monthly basis. Again, I ask Ms. Bailey and Treasurer Broughton to provide me with a copy of the bill we receive from each entity as soon as it arrives so that either I or they can compute the specific payment we will have to make for the months listed.

The local still owes the AFT for back dues that we failed to pay from Jan. 1-April 1, 2014, which I will also ask Ms. Bailey or Ms. Broughton to issue a check request for that amount so we can pay it.

Additionally, I understand that there are at least two, perhaps more, monthly per caps also owed to the AFT Michigan and AFT from Keith Johnson's tenure as president of the DFT. Once I get a copy of the the bills stating the number of members we had for each month, I have assured the AFT Michigan and AFT leadership that we will pay those as well.

I will speak to the appropriate AFT officers about the forbearance agreement the DFT receives from the AFT, and we will work out a mutual way for our local to make reasonable and regular payments to pay off that debt.

Neither the AFT Michigan nor the AFT leadership have expressed any concerns or doubts that our local will fulfill our financial responsibilities to the AFT bodies to which we owe monthly per caps and payments. AFT President Weingarten was especially deferential in her understanding of the issues facing any new leadership that is charged with setting up a viable procedure. I am confident that we can move forward with a regular and ordinary financial arrangement.


Steve Conn
President, DFT

Help Circulate our Petition! Join the Summer Campaign for the Defense of Public Education in Detroit!

Hundreds of signatures have already been collected  from Detroiters this summer in support of our demands for (1)  teacher fall placements now; (2) no cuts in health care coverage; (3) no school reconstitutions. 

Our campaign has been hugely successful in generating mass public support for Detroit teachers and opposition to the governor and his emergency manager’s destructive plans.  Use the link above to print petition copies, and help us circulate them in neighborhoods, at churches and at summer festivals.  

Call me if you’d like to be teamed up with other petitioners, or if you have other ideas on how to build this campaign and win our demands! 

DFT President Steve Conn 313.303.1996

July 27 Planning Meeting on Critical Shortage Bonus grievance

If you are involved in the DFT’s grievance over the Critical Shortage Bonus, please consider attending a brief, but very important, meeting to prepare for the upcoming Step Two Grievance Hearing on that matter.  The preparatory meeting will take place this coming Monday July 27, from 4 – 6 pm, at the Gracious Savior Lutheran Church on the northbound Lodge Service Drive between Vassar and St. Martins.  

DFT Demands Lower Class Size & More Lesson Prep Time

The DFT has scheduled a grievance arbitration hearing with DPS on September 8 regarding repeated violations of contractual class size limits as set forth in Article 18 Section A.  We are also scheduling another grievance arbitration in September over the failure to provide teachers with comp time for lost prep periods, as required by Article 6 Section B.2(e) on page 10 of the contract book.

Tuesday's MERC hearing postponed until 10 am July 29

The next hearing in the DFT's next lawsuit against harassment of teachers has been postponed from 1:30 this Tuesday until 10 am Wednesday, July 29.  The location will still be the same: room 2-700 in the annex to the Cadillac Place Building, 3026 West Grand Blvd (the former GM Building).