The Detroit Federation of Teachers celebrates its 93rd year of existence, on February 24, 1931. The local number, 231, is because this union was chartered in the second month of the year 1931.
Standing With Houston Educators
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.
DFT Members Raffle Winners
At the January DFT General Membership Meeting there was a raffle for 4 red DFT wool caps. Thanks to these members for attending the monthly union meeting. You just never know what you will bring home from our monthly meetings.
DFT Members Celebrate the Union's Charter Day
Members who attended the February General Membership Meeting were treated to light refreshments and 2 cakes to say "Congratulations" to the DFT for serving educators in the Detroit Public Schools for 93 years. We take pride in the fact that we are still the "Mighty, Mighty DFT"! We look forward to celebrating many more years as we dedicate ourselves to always advocating for our students and their families in our community.
Kudos to Vice President, Robin Jennings, for speaking on behalf of our union for repealing Right to Work in Michigan. Please share this video with your family and friends. Michigan wouldl be the first state in the country to repeal Right to Work.
Last Thursday, Donna Jackson, President of the Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals, Local 2350, Lincoln Stocks, President of the Eastpointe Federation of Educators, Local 698, Detroit Federation of Teachers, Local 231 President Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins and activists Dwan McGrady and Nastassia Szpaichler offered testimony in support of HB 4044. HB 4044 repeals PA 54 which freezes any step increases, makes employees fully responsible for healthcare increases, and prohibits retroactive pay if a collective bargaining agreement expires before a new one is reached. The members effectively highlighted other issues impacting educators from the various prohibited subjects of bargaining, the privatization of support staff and the limitation of some bargaining rights for DPSCD teachers. Their testimony set the stage for a future slate of bills that will restore the rights of educators across our state and address the critical teacher shortage we are facing. We will continue to work with our allies to ensure our members can make their voices and experience heard as these bills move through the legislature.
WHAT'S NEW: Meet our President, Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins
For more than 25 years, Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins has been an active member in the Detroit Federation of Teachers. She started her career as a first grade teacher at Spain Elementary & Middle School in 1997. Upon completion of a Master’s Degree in counseling and the timely retirement of Spain’s counselors, Lakia was able to obtain a counseling position at Spain and continue advocating and building relationships with students, families, and staff while leveraging support from stakeholders in the community in which she loved. Lakia recalls the anxiety of walking the picket line in the strike of 1999 and the excitement of delivering Spain Schools’ ballots in the election of officers to the DFT office, which formerly stood next to Dittrich Furs on Third Avenue. Lakia has always provided support to the DFT at the building level as the Building Representative, Alternate, and Union Committee.
In 2014, Lakia was elected to her first term on the DFT Executive Board. Since then, Lakia has served as both Vice President and Executive Vice President of the DFT. With the onset of the 2023-2025 biennium, Lakia is humbled, privileged and blessed to be elected as the 9th President of the DFT. Professionally, Lakia is honored to represent over 3000 of the world’s best educators and support staff.
In Lakia's family, education and unionism have a long history. Her mother was the first black teacher at St. Anne Catholic School in Southwest Detroit for 7 years (now closed). She ultimately retired as a proud MEA member from Mount Clemens Public Schools after 24 years of teaching both kindergarten and first grade. Lakia’s father, after 40 years of work, retired as a proud Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant employee. Her uncles were Sleeping Car Porters, and she has three UAW proud brothers who worked for each of the Big Three—Ford, Chrysler, and GM—with one becoming a union steward for the Bakery and Confectionery Union at Hostess Cake. Her aunts were educators as well. Currently, Lakia’s sister teaches 1st grade in Maryland, her goddaughter is a second year teacher in Tennessee, while her nephew is a professor in Texas. “The love of learning and teaching runs in the family”, claims Lakia.
A lifelong Detroiter—born, raised, living and working in Detroit, Lakia is an outspoken advocate for social, educational and economic justice. Lakia has been featured on many media outlets. Most notable are her appearances on C-SPAN during the AFL-CIO Raising Wages Summit, AFT “Life Inside Detroit Public Schools”, NBC News Learn, and HBO Real Sports.
Lakia is a Mount Clemens High School alumna. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Science Education, and Oakland University with a Master of Arts in Counseling. She holds Principal Certification from Lamar University, and is currently working toward her doctoral degree in Leadership at the American College of Education.
Lakia, who still qualifies herself as a newlywed, shares her home with her amazing husband Michael and their energetic eight-year-old son Noah.
WHAT'S NEW: DFT Election Results
Here are the results of the DFT Election which were announced at the end of the March 2023 General Membership Meeting.
one (1) vacancy on Executive Board
Gavin Buckley 26
Stephen Conn 22
Rachele Green 39
Kwesi Matthews 4
Kimberly L. Mitchell 69
Kimberly L. Mitchell was declared the winner in this race. She will be sworn in at the April General Membership meeting.
three (3) positions on the Election Committee
Cheryl Constantino 21
Hope Gibson 42
Theodosia Gulley 21
Tamika Merchant 87
Jacqueline Robinson 93
Queen Watkins 102
The three members who were elected to the Election Committee are Queen Watkins, Jacqueline Robinson and Tamika Merchant. They will be sworn in at the April General Membership meeting.
WHAT'S NEW: Premiere of Rosa Parks Film
The DFT was proud to be a part of this special event: the film premiere at the Detroit Institute of Arts about the life of Rosa Parks. After the screening AFT National President, Randi Weingarten, was part of a special conversation moderated by the film’s executive producer Soledad O’Brien with Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Secretary of State, the film’s directors Yoruba Richen and Johanna Hamilton, the book's author, Dr. Jeanne Theoharis and Lonnie McCauley, Rosa Parks’ grandnephew.
WHAT'S NEW: DFT Mourns the Loss of Former DAEOE President, Ruby Newbold
The DFT joins the community in expressing our sorrow for the former long-time president of the DAEOE, Ruby Newbold. She served as president of the Detroit Association of Educational Office Employees, Local 4168, affectionately called the “clericals union”. She was a labor activist her entire career, from her start as a payroll clerk with the Detroit Public Schools until her retirement in 2018. During her long career she served in various capacities with AFT Detroit, the Coalition of DPS Unions, AFT Michigan and even with AFT National. Here in Detroit the DFT appreciated the support she lent on the many collaborative initiatives for the membership and the community, such as Nutrition Night, Literacy Camp and First Book. She has left her mark on the legacy of the labor movement not just locally, but statewide and across the country. We send our condolences to her son, Demetrius, and his family.