MEA delegates vote to explore new partnerships with AFT and AFL-CIO

Delegates at the MEA Representative Assembly voted Saturday to explore a partnership agreement with the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan. Delegates also voted to look into the benefits and drawbacks of joining the AFL-CIO.

Proponents of forming a partnership with AFT-Michigan pointed out that the two unions “work well together on a crisis basis,” and argued that a greater partnership would “increase political and educational influence” and “protect public education from the corporations trying to take it over.”

MEA President Steve Cook said the proposal, introduced by delegate Sidney Kardon of Region 7 and passed by a voice vote, “is a formalization of the relationship we already have. I don’t see it going any further than that at this point.”

In addition to exploring a partnership with AFT-Michigan, delegates approved a proposal to “investigate and assess the benefits and drawbacks of membership in the American Federation of Labor for the purpose of considering MEA membership in the AFL.”

“As Michigan’s unions decline in membership and political influence, it is important to strengthen alliances in the interest of protecting the welfare of Michigan’s workers and families,” supporters said. “We educate, nurture, and protect the children of union members; in turn, we need their support in promoting the viability and sanctity of public education.”