Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Detroit Teachers Union members take over union meeting in recall fight!

The following is a summary (with video) of the Detroit teachers union membership meeting Thursday, January 14th, 2010.

Background Note: The DFT Executive Board had voted the night before to dismiss the 1300 member petition signatures calling for Johnson's recall, though the recall process in our union constitution gives them NO authority on this matter, and says that only 1000 signatures are needed. The recall is based on Johnson's numerous violations of his obligations of office, stemming from his efforts to impose the Arne Duncan anti-public education "reforms" on Detroit Public Schools and its teachers.

Johnson began the membership meeting seen in these videos by ruling all 3 of our motions out of order. The three motions were as follows: (1) to set the date of Johnson's hearing and recall vote for the February 11th membership meeting, (2) to relieve Johnson or all duties and obligations as President until that recall vote; (3) for the DFT to support the lawsuit against the TIP $250 forced "loan" from Detroit teachers' next 40 paychecks.

After Johnsons ruled us out of order, we appealed that decision to the body, as is our right under Robert's Rules of Order and our union By-laws. The vast majority of the meeting voted with us and against Johnson.
Johnson then ignored that vote, and tried to get his agenda adopted. But the overwhelming majority voted DOWN his agenda.

Johnson then announced that his agenda had passed, and the crowd erupted in an angry roar and began chanting for his removal. See video:
Johnson then left the room, and we voted to adopt the two motions regarding his removal from office (motions #1 and # 2 above). Johnson then came back into the room with members of the Detroit Police Gang Squad.

Johnson then tried to unilaterally adjourn the meeting without a motion or vote to do so, in violation of our by-laws and Robert's rules. See video:
DFT members continued the meeting. We voted for the union to join the lawsuit against the TIP $250. (motion #3 above)

We urge all members to attend the February 11th DFT General Membership Meeting, at which time we will hold the hearing and take the vote on Johnson's recall.

If you would like to file a wage complaint against the TIP, email


The Committee to Defend Public Education meets each Saturday at 4:00 pm at Gracious Savior Lutheran Church; 19484 James Couzens, Detroit.

Angel Gonzalez Comments:

Let's stand in solidarity with our Detroit Federation of Teachers where they fight deductions ($10K) of teachers' wages as loans their local city corporate-government.

We've got to build the fight to get a bail out of all our educational services and the living/work conditions of school & all workers.

Build our NYC UFT grassroots rank & file movement to replace these Mulgrew-Weingarten corporate neo-liberal privatization collaborators. We can't let the UFT bosses continue to negotiate & hack away at our rights, benefits, wages and educational services (e.g. tying test scores to teacher evaluations, trashing tenure, charter support,lowered pensions & benefits, ATR & seniority rights trashing, rubber room atrocities, weak & negated grievance rights, larger class sizes, budget cuts . . . the litany of sell-out is endless).

The UFT bosses will never take up an EFFECTIVE militant FIGHTBACK STRATEGY THAT BUILDS MEMBER-BASED BOTTOM-UP ORGANIZING & MOBILIZING. It is up to us, the membership to do that.

Let's build our democratic-organizational strength to eventually give the Mulgrew-Unity bosses the boot here and take over the UFT! We need to start building our own union leadership from among our membership ranks.

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