The regular membership meeting of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) on November 6, 2015 was held at the IEBW union hall for the finically striped union. Ironically enough the walls were decorated with signs speaking to the unification of union yet the DFT is incredibly fractured with a recently oust president, a self-appointed current president, newly appointed vice president by the self-appointed president, and a recent decision to suspend the democratic process as a whole.
Terrence Martin, the newly appointed (not elected) executive vice president of the DFT, appointment comes with questions of his legitimate standing in the union.
Most members were not even aware of his appointment. The implementation of the rank and file of the DFT seems to be more and more reflective of the city of Detroit in that the democratic process seems to be glaringly absence.
As the meeting began a motion was made to make the meetings more assessable to all members. That motion was immediately not only shouted down by much of the executive board members but also aerially turned down by the self-appointed president.
There was a visible presence of the sergeant of arms. Who made several threats to throw members out with his actions being applauded. It was extremely hard to believe that this was the city of Detroit the birth place of the labor union. There seemed to be little to no tolerance for questions of any kind.
The DFT’s self-appointed president would read a letter from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) national president Randi Weingarten stating that basically the presidential election would be suspended indefinitely.
The governor’s “Old Co/New Co” model took center stage at the meeting. There was little room for doubt that it would eventually dissolve Detroit Public School (DPS). Further it seems to leave little room for doubt that there would be more contracting the position to education management organizations to outsource the position of superintendent, emergency manager, chef education officer or whatever said title might be for governance of DPS.
AFT representative, Nate Walker spoke to the governor’s plans for Detroit Public Schools (DPS). Other guests included legislator Gay-Dagnogo. Who came to speak to the body as a former teacher and now as a legislator and current voice of the educators of Detroit. She would urge the DFT to take a stands on the governor’s ideas for the future of Detroit. She all but guaranteed the body that legislation would be coming down the pike by the end of the following week.
Ms. Gay-Dagnogo passed out an abbreviated version to the Governor’s proposed “Old Co /New Co.” and the “DEC” (Detroit Education Commission) bills.
Sadly many believe that with the current sentiment and direction of the DFT that the DFT will only take member’s money in the form of dues and simply sell the members out. The trust seems to be broken beyond repair. Likewise belief is that the current administration has already made a close door back room deal to deliver their support on a deal that will not be in teachers’ best interest.
Sadly, when a member would later make a motion for the union to take a stand it was slammed.