The executive board of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) has made the unprecedented decision to oust their democratically elected president, Steve Conn.
The embattled, financially weak and tore union is facing complete destruction as a result of recent moves that many of its members view as undemocratic, self-serving and just plan dishonest. The relationship is so incredibly dysfunctional it’s difficult to imagine how it ever could survive.
How did they get here? One has to only look at an extremely fractured history. A history which many teachers found themselves feeling betrayed. Feelings that made them feel their union worked more for their employer than them. Far too many members received no support from their union. Far too many members found themselves in either a straight up battle with their union or so turned off and dejected that many had simply given up on the DFT altogether.
Enter stage left, Steve Conn. For the majority of the members the only hope for the union’s future is Mr. Conn. Member after member recants stories of alienation. Stories of how the union rank and file blindingly turned their backs on them in their most extreme hour of need. In stark and ironic contrast Steve Conn would personally not only hold members hands but not rest until their issues were addressed. Then he would assure and remind them that is what a union is supposed to do.
Slowly but surely that awakened the hope that maybe the union could actually be great again. That maybe the union could actually care and represents its members and not be run like a private country club that only worked for the few friends and family of the union’s rank and file like it had been in be the past.
Even allegations of extortion on the part of the previous administration are ever present. Being that the executive board is headed and occupied by members of the prior administration it has been stated that the former DFT president approached Conn for money and when that demand was refused the complete undermine in an extremely treason/ coo style would ensue. Mysteriously the prior president would become forever present at countless meeting before the hearing of Mr. Conn. After the removal of Mr. Conn by the present Executive vice president the former president would place him at the end of the table and dominate the meetings often time speaking louder than the supposed ant rum president/ executive vice president.
The supposed retired former president has left far too many members with a feeling of total betrayal. So much so that when Michigan became a “Right to Work” state members vowed to not pay another dime until the president was removed and or the union started acting like a union.
Somehow in a twist of fate the former president was allowed as a favor to force members to pay dues through payroll deduction. This would only further illustrate the unsavory relationship between the former union’s president and its members’ employer.
There by paving the way for the election of Steve Conn. Despite what many viewed as a means to hijack the election Mr. Conn still won. After which members would see a recall effort for Mr. Conn’s victory. But when the executive board was met with an unsuccessful effort to recall Mr. Conn via 500 signatures the highly controversial and alleged by far too many illegal trail process would began.
According to the unions by laws members have a chance to have Mr. Conn reinstated by a two thirds vote. The first general member meeting was Thursday September 17, 2015 doors opened at 4:00 p.m. and the meeting was scheduled to commence at 4:30 p.m. at the Masonic Temple in Detroit. The community is vowed to support Steve Conn in a March for a city wide day of action marching from Cass Technical high school to Masonic Temple to show support for Steve Conn. Their asking Detroit to stand up, fight back to win the reinstatement of President Conn and defend public education in a fight to save Detroit Public Schools.
The removal of President Conn would culminating in the first executive board meeting after the removal of Mr. Conn headed by the former Executive Vice president and former President. The actions have many vowing that if this executive board with the coheres of a past administration come up with anything short of reinstating Conn and not disrespecting the members voice, vote, and opinion they will not pay another dime to the entity there by crippling and threatening it’s very future .