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Western International High School Receives AFL-CIO Adopt-a-School Grant

Metro Detroit AFL-CIO  President Chris Michalakis, Western International High School Principal Rudolpho Diaz, and President of the American Federation of School Administrators Diann Woodard.

Metro Detroit AFL-CIO President Chris Michalakis, Western International High School Principal Rudolpho Diaz, and President of the American Federation of School Administrators Diann Woodard.

This morning the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO announced a $5,000 “Adopt-a-School” grant to be awarded to Western International High School.

The “Adopt-a-School” program is designed to support teaching staff and classrooms to help educate young people on the vital connection between workers’ rights and civil rights, as well as other initiatives that connect union workers to students.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council authorized the “Adopt-a-School” program in February to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  This grant program is funded by the AFL-CIO’s union affiliates.

“The labor movement has always worked to invest in our local community and this is just another opportunity to make a difference,” said Diann Woodard, President of the American Federation of School Administrators. “We’re extremely proud to present this award to Western International High School and look forward to working with them to ensure that all students have access to quality education and the resources they need to teach our next generation of leaders.”

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Supporting Working Family Candidates

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Jerry Young, member of UFCW Local 876, got the word out about the “Working Family Slate” in Monroe.

On October 5, a dozen activists and candidates assembled at the Monroe / Lenawee Central Labor Council (CLC) in downtown Monroe to go into the community and talk to fellow union members about the upcoming City Council elections.

Michigan AFL-CIO President Karla Swift (left) and Monroe/Lenawee Central Labor Council Lee Sharpe (right) were out on Saturday talking to working families about City Council candidates who will put workers first.

Michigan AFL-CIO President Karla Swift (left) and Monroe/Lenawee Central Labor Council Lee Sharpe (right) were out on Saturday talking to working families about City Council candidates who will put workers first.

After a brief training, folks departed to canvass for the Monroe City Council “Working Families Slate” comprised of candidates who come from a union background and are committed to standing up for working families if elected. The Central Labor Council has endorsed Bronco McKart (UWUA), Jerry McKart (LIUNA), Willie Hall (UAW), Matt Vititoe (UCAN – Community Activist), and Gloria Rafko (MEA/UAW).

Activist and one of the event organizers Jerry Young (UFCW Local 876) had this to say about the day’s events: “It starts here; it starts organizing at the grassroots. This is the way that we can get organized and effect change.”

Monroe / Lenawee Central Labor Council President Lee Sharpe noted how critical the day’s events were, and how organizing is such an important priority, saying, “We are going to show how valuable a CLC endorsement really is and support our union brothers and sisters that are running for office.”

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Michigan AFL-CIO President Karla Swift was also there to knock doors and talk to working families. She spoke about the importance of the organizing drives in Monroe and across Michigan.

For more information or to sign up to volunteer for working family candidates and issues in St. Clair Shores, Kalamazoo, Royal Oak, or Monroe, visit our Volunteer Center at http://miaflcio.org/action-center/volunteer/.

Knock for Equality

On Saturday, September 28th, President Karla Swift, union member volunteers and the Michigan AFL-CIO team showed up energized to knock doors with the One Royal Oak campaign. The One Royal Oak coalition is working for Proposal A to protect a Human Rights Ordinance already passed by the Royal Oak City Commission. Passing this proposal would solidify protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens of Royal Oak from discrimination in housing and the workplace. Proposal A will be on the ballot November 5, 2013.

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The Michigan AFL-CIO and Metro Detroit AFL-CIO standing with One Royal Oak is another mile marker in the long history of labor and the LGBT movement working side by side on issues of basic fairness, justice, and equality in the workplace and beyond.

In 1974, the Teamsters and other labor allies joined forces with LGBT activists to confront discrimination and unfair labor practices, sparking the boycott of Coors Beer, a boycott that spread nationally eventually leading to gains for both worker’s and LGBT rights. In 1978, Proposition 6 sought to ban gay and lesbian teachers from California public schools but was ultimately defeated by a coalition of union and LGBT activists.

Dating back to the 1979 quadrennial convention, the National AFL-CIO passed a resolution calling for the enactment of federal legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

President Karla Swift canvassing for Equality.

President Karla Swift canvassing for Equality.

In 2013, AFL-CIO conventions reaffirmed the fight for equality both at the national and state level, extending support to the transgendered community with National AFL-CIO Resolution 48, Resolution for Health Care Equity For Alland Michigan AFL-CIO Resolution 24, Protecting Against Discrimination.

No worker should be fired or discriminated against for their identity! The Michigan and Metro Detroit AFL-CIO will continue to stand up with our LGBT brothers and sisters in the fight for equal treatment for all.

This October, union members will be turning out in support of Proposal A and the One Royal Oak campaign. These local ordinances are essential to making sure LGBT workers are not discriminated against in the workplace, in housing, and beyond.

Click here to volunteer with other union members and the One Royal Oak campaign! We will knock doors and make phone calls in support of the proposal and help explain why One Royal Oak is such an important fight in our state.

More information about the One Royal Oak campaign can be found at oneroyaloak.org.

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