MEA and AFT-Michigan form formal partnership to advocate for students and education employees

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 15, 2013 — In an effort to protect and strengthen public education in Michigan, the Michigan Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan have formed a formal partnership, leaders of both unions announced Tuesday.

MEA and AFT-Michigan are the state’s two largest organizations representing teachers, education support professionals and higher education employees. Combined, the two unions represent about 185,000 preK-16 education employees in all corners of the state.

The partnership is not a merger, but rather an agreement to advocate together on behalf of teachers, education support professionals, higher-education employees, students and families.

“Working together, we can improve learning conditions for students by helping to ensure our schools get the resources they need, as well as making sure education employees are treated as valued professionals,” MEA President Steven Cook said.

The partnership comes as short-sighted politicians are cutting Michigan’s public schools, colleges and universities to the bone — all for the benefit of big corporations.

Gov. Rick Snyder and his allies in the Legislature slashed $1 billion from K-12 schools and $500 million from higher education, just to pay for $2.4 billion in tax breaks for rich CEOs and corporate special interests. Snyder’s K-12 cuts have robbed children of the resources they need to succeed in college and the workplace, while his higher-education cuts have caused tuition rates to skyrocket for middle-class families.

“At a time when public preK-16 education is under attack, it’s critical that advocates for good public schools stand together and provide a strong voice for students, education employees and parents — and that’s why MEA and AFT-Michigan have formed this important partnership,” AFT-Michigan President David Hecker said.

Contact:         Doug Pratt, MEA, 517-896-4465
David Hecker, President, AFT-Michigan, 313.204.6115