Earlier in October Organizing Fellow, Yolanda King, and President Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins traveled to Texas for an AFT Human Rights Conference. While at the conference the DFT was awarded a Powerful Partnerships grant. Standing in the center, next to the DFT President is actor/activist Erika Alexander, a SAG-AFTRA award winning actress.
African American Leadership Awards 2023
Three of our own were nominated for the African American Leadership Awards: President Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins, Treasurer Rodney Fresh and Retirees Chapter Secretary, Michelle Broughton. We are pleased to announce that President Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins was the recipient of the Sophie Womack Quality of Life & Leadership award.
Listening to History
Retirees at the November Chapter meeting listened to AFT Archivist, Dan Golodner, as he gave a brief history of the DFT from 1920-1967. He presented a slide show presentation and gave some anecdotes about past DFT leadership. Displayed on the screen is a copy of the DFT charter from February 24, 1931.
New Addition to the Staff
The DFT staff has expanded by one. We are welcoming Regina Fuqua as an Organizing Fellow. She will be working alongside Yolanda King to service members with membership and dues.
WHAT'S NEW: Rally Not Sanctioned by DFT
The Detroit Federation of Teachers has NOT organized a rally at the Fisher Building today. Due to extreme temperatures, Central Office has limited employees. Rallying outside of the Fisher Building will be demonstrative of a photo op.
In the past 5 years, we have moved hourly employees to salary, restored longevity, reoccurring retention bonuses-including our retirees and long-term substitutes, MA step 15 has increased over 20%, and most recently repealed prohibited subjects by lobbying in Lansing and more! We have and will continue to push forward for competitive compensation for all.
If members are concerned and want to move negotiations forward, you should email all of the district's elected school board members your concerns for this ongoing round of negotiations.
WHAT'S NEW: A Tribute to David Hecker
The members of the DFT wish a happy retirement to David Hecker, as he steps down from serving as President of AFT Michigan. He has held this position since 2001 and has worked with this local closely for the past 22 years.
Throughout his tenure, David has exemplified the true meaning of leadership. His vision, wisdom, and ability has assisted the DFT over the years through the numerous challenges our members have faced from the district and the state. David's exceptional ability to navigate complex circumstances and find innovative solutions has been nothing short of remarkable. He has been an integral piece to every political fight in Michigan that educators are engaged in, especially fights directly targeting Detroit!
As we reflect on David's journey, it is impossible not to acknowledge his passion for education and advocacy. His unwavering commitment to social justice and equity has been an inspiration to all, reminding us of the power of education to create positive change in our society.
Current DFT president, Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins, has this to say about David Hecker: "We thank David for his leadership and support and how much it means to be a part of the AFT Michigan team. He has always pointed us in the right direction, especially helping me out as a newbie president of this local. He is a voice of reason and encouragement. I sincerely appreciate you being open to the needs of this local: space to hold a meeting, navigating technology and having our backs every time we faced adversity. The DFT recognizes the unwavering support and unrelenting guidance he provided that helps in leading this Union’s path to success.”
Keith R. Johnson, DFT President Emeritus, had these kind words to share: "I had the honor and pleasure of working with AFT Michigan President David Hecker for nearly 20 years during my time as DFT Labor Relations Administrator, DFT Director of Operations, and as DFT President.
During that time and beyond, David has consistently demonstrated the qualities you look for in a labor leader; passion for the labor movement, passion for Union members, passion for civil and human rights, passion for women's rights, passion for the working class, passion for the underserved and disrespected, passion for the quality of education for children from pre-k through post graduate education, and passion for his and all Unions.
If looking for a word to describe David, it would be PASSION!
David was a tremendous asset to me and the DFT as we dealt with the most challenging times for Detroit Public Schools. I could ALWAYS count on David to be wherever and whenever I needed him. David was dependable for his assistance, his knowledge, and support.
I also had the pleasure of sharing a seat with him on the AFT Executive Council, where he brought that same passion for our causes on a national scale. David could always be depended upon to offer his support to other locals, other members, and the causes we fought for. David's deep and abiding respect for the challenges we face as educators and support staff was unwavering, and he will leave a lasting legacy of what good leadership looks like.
I thank and commend AFT Michigan President, AFT National Vice-President for his service, his dedication, and his friendship."
Former President, Ivy Bailey, shared these memories of working with David Hecker: "David Hecker is the consummate organizer--extremely skilled and accomplished-- of the highest degree, complete in every detail. Let me give an example of being “organized by David in some way.
If there is legislation that needs to be passed. David will call every legislator that he knows who has any interest in the bill or knows of someone directly involved. He will galvanize all the AFT organizers to set up phone banks, organize community events, go door knocking. In the meantime, he’s meeting with everyone who has voting power to sway the vote. He’ll call every Union President and get them and their membership involved in all of the organizing activities. He usually knows how the vote is going to go, but you know that "you win some and you lose some". David usually gets what he wants and we have all benefited from his skills.
David, we’ve had our moments but you know we wish you all the best!! Congratulations on a well earned retirement, that is, are you really retiring?"
Terrence Martin, a former president of the DFT, who has been elected to succeed David Hecker as the president of the statewide federation, had this to say about his predecessor: "David Hecker has been the epitome of a trade unionist. His commitment to the broader labor movement has been inspiring to all of us."
As he embarks on a new chapter in his life, we wish him joy, fulfillment, and all the happiness retirement has to offer. David, your impact will be felt for years to come, and your legacy will forever serve as a guiding light for all those who follow in your footsteps. Congratulations, David, and thank you for everything you have done.
WHAT'S NEW: CONGRATULATIONS TO FORMER DFT PRESIDENT
We are excited that one of our own, former DFT President, Terrence Martin, has been named to succeed David Hecker as President of AFT Michigan. Martin recently stepped down as the head of this union in January 2023, a position he had held for 4 years. He became a member of Local 231 when he came to the district as a teacher in 1997. Since that time he has served as a building representative, the treasurer of the union, a labor affairs administrator, community engagement and political action coordinator, executive vice-president and then president. We wish him all the best in this new endeavor.
WHAT'S NEW: DFT Response to Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action
We are disappointed with the United States Supreme Court decision on Affirmative Action, but we are not disheartened. Affirmative action is a policy that aims to address historical inequalities and promote diversity by providing preferential treatment or opportunities to underrepresented groups. Today’s decision is a step in the wrong direction to make the United States a more perfect union. This country has to reckon with its past and the Detroit Federation of Teachers has always held a commitment to fighting for educational diversity which aligns with the principles behind affirmative action. We believe that there is no better place for all voices to be heard and experiences to be shared than this nation's classrooms. We must not forget that education is the great equalizer and cannot allow it to be erased with the swipe of a pen.
We urge you to read today’s Supreme Court decision, particularly Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s dissent, which begins on page 209.
WHAT'S NEW: Wins for Teachers in Michigan and the DFT
It was a victory, not only for educators across Michigan, but our own DFT members who were new hires after 2019. They have been able to get back the right to negotiate salary, along with all other bargaining unit members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. We wish to express our thanks and appreciation to all union members, not just from our local, but across the state, for banding together to return the Educator Voice to us.