American Federation of Teachers Michigan Endorses Gretchen Whitmer for Governor


March 27, 2018
Contact: 313–923–7781

American Federation of Teachers Michigan Endorses Gretchen Whitmer for Governor

AFT Michigan Represents 30,000 Michigan Workers in the Education Profession

LANSING, MICHIGAN — Today, the American Federation of Teachers Michigan, which represents 30,000 workers in the education profession, announced their support for Gretchen Whitmer for governor. With this latest endorsement, Whitmer’s unprecedented momentum continues, as 17 statewide labor organizations representing 893,000 Michigan workers and retirees join her movement.

AFT Michigan President David Hecker said Whitmer’s time on the front lines fighting for Michigan educators and students, like when she took on governors in both parties when they tried to raid the school aid fund, makes her our strongest candidate to take back the governor’s office.

“Gretchen is an outspoken advocate of our values and our issues. There is no one better suited to help Michigan move forward and be a champion for students, teachers, and support staff at all levels of education, while at the same time being a governor that can represent all of Michigan,” said Hecker. “Throughout her public service, Gretchen has been a champion for inclusive policies to ensure all students feel welcome and safe in the classroom, has consistently tried to make higher education more affordable, and has pushed for more classroom resources so teachers and support staff have the tools they need to help their students grow and thrive.”

Whitmer is a proud product of Michigan’s public schools. As Senate Democratic Leader, she fought against legislation that took 3 percent out of educator’s paychecks to pay for retiree health care and introduced the groundbreaking Michigan 2020 plan, which would have given every Michigan high school graduate the opportunity to attend college debt-free.

“Making Michigan the place our kids want to make their lives in and that others move to again begins with education,” said Whitmer. “To address Michigan’s economic challenges, we must invest in people, from college students and academic staff to secretaries and bus drivers in our PreK-12 schools. That means treating our educators with the respect they deserve and creating pathways to opportunity for people at all stages of their lives. I’m ready to work with everyone who wants to solve problems, and I’ll take on anyone who stands in the way of Michiganders getting the skills and education they need to be successful.”

The AFT Michigan represents 30,000 Michigan workers in the education profession, in jobs including public and charter PreK-12 teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, bus drivers, grounds people, tenured faculty, non-tenured faculty, academic staff, graduate employees, and more across Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas.

Whitmer is an inactive member of the AFT through her time as a non-tenure track professor at the University of Michigan. Whitmer was raised in and around Michigan’s public schools. Her mother was a teacher in Lansing Public Schools, her grandmother taught in Waterford, and her grandfather was a Superintendent in Pontiac. Whitmer’s two teenaged daughters attend high school in the East Lansing Public School District.

Whitmer was one of the first candidates for governor in the entire country endorsed by EMILY’s List, and they are committed to leveraging their national fundraising network to ensure that Gretchen has whatever it takes to win this race. She is also supported by the Progressive Women’s Alliance and locally by MI List.

Whitmer is also endorsed by organizations representing more than 893,000 Michigan workers, including:

· the United Auto Workers;

· the Michigan Education Association

· the Michigan Construction and Building Trades Council;

· the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights;

· the Michigan State Utility Workers Council;

· the Michigan Pipe Trades Association;

· the Michigan Joint Council of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union;

· United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 876 and 951;

· Communications Workers of America District 4;

· Iron Workers Local 25;

· the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council #43;

· the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 1M;

· the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Michigan State Conference;

· the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union;

· AFSCME Council 25;

· the Michigan Laborers District Council;

· the American Federation of Teachers Michigan

Whitmer is also being supported by current and former elected officials including:

· Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan;

· former Michigan Governor James Blanchard;

· Wayne County Executive Warren Evans;

· Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy;

· Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon;

· U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI09) of Royal Oak;

· U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI05) of Flint Township;

· U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI14) of Southfield;

· U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI12) of Dearborn

· former Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley;

· Lansing Mayor Andy Schor

Whitmer is also being supported by 32 members of the Michigan Legislature, including: Assistant Democratic Senate Leader Steve Bieda (Warren); Democratic Senate Floor Leader Morris Hood III (Detroit); Associate President Pro Tempore Hoon-Yung Hopgood (Taylor); Assistant Democratic Senate Caucus Chair Vincent Gregory (Lathrup Village); Senate Democratic Whip Curtis Hertel (East Lansing); Senator Rebekah Warren (Ann Arbor); Democratic House Leader Sam Singh (East Lansing);Democratic House Floor Leader Christine Greig (Farmington Hills), Assistant Democratic House Whip Erika Geiss (Taylor), Representative Fred Durhal (Detroit), Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (Detroit), Representative Leslie Love (Detroit), Representative Robert Kosowski (Westland), Representative Kevin Hertel (St. Clair Shores), Representative Kristy Pagan (Canton), Representative Robert Wittenberg (Huntington Woods), Representative Patrick Green (Warren), Representative Tim Greimel (Auburn Hills), Representative Jeremy Moss (Southfield), Representative Pam Faris (Clio), Representative Phil Phelps (Flint), Representative Tim Sneller (Burton), Representative Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township), Representative Ronnie Peterson (Ypsilanti), Representative Jon Hoadley (Kalamazoo), Representative Tom Cochran (Mason), Representative David LaGrand (Grand Rapids), Representative Winnie Brinks (Grand Rapids), Representative Terry Sabo (Muskegon),Representative Sara Cambensy (Marquette), and Representative Scott Dianda (Calumet).