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DFT Delegates Attend Historic 2016 National AFT Convention

Members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers joined more than 3,000 union delegates from around the country in Minneapolis July 18-21 for the American Federation of Teachers’ biennial convention. Interim President Ivy Bailey and Executive Vice President Terrence Martin were part of a delegation of 10 DFT members attending the national gathering.

“It is an honor to be representing Detroit and our members at this convention and to be here with our AFT sisters and brothers celebrating the 100th anniversary of our great national union,” Bailey said.

DFT members have been warmly greeted and have received expressions of support from convention delegates from around the country. And Bailey and Martin were invited to speak at a number of delegate meetings to share DFT’s experiences with colleagues from the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Chicago Teachers Union, the United Federation of Teachers (New York) and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

“We are overwhelmed by the support and solidarity wishes for Detroit educators that we have received from fellow AFT members we have encountered at this convention,” Martin said. “It is reassuring to know that the DFT and our members have our national AFT family standing with us in the fight for our members and the students we serve.”

Bailey received a rousing ovation when she stood with other AFT convention delegates who spoke in favor of an amendment that provides a modest dues increase of 25 cents per month. The increase will be used to help our local affiliates provide more effective representation for members.

“I can tell you just how vital the AFT’s assistance has been to our members in Detroit, where we were in the fight for our lives,” Bailey told convention delegates. “That assistance literally provided a lifeline for our union and our school district.”

On Wednesday, July 20, DFT member Lakia Wilson of Spain Elementary-Middle School addressed the convention in a special session on collective voice and member engagement.

To read summaries of convention activities, visit

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