Press Release

American Federation of Teachers Convening in Detroit

For Release: 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Carolyn Fiddler

Vice President Joe Biden, Charles Blow, Diane Ravitch, UAW President Bob King Among Major Speakers

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers 2012 convention will begin Friday, July 27, and will last through Monday, July 30, at Cobo Center in Detroit, where more than 3,000 delegates will gather from across the country representing preK-12 teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; early childhood educators; federal, state and local government employees; and nurses and other healthcare professionals.

The convention opens with AFT President Randi Weingarten's keynote address introducing "solution-driven unionism," a redefinition of unionism that advances solutions focused not just on members, but also on the people they serve and the communities in which they live. Solution-driven unionism will advance creative solutions to unify members and their communities around issues important to all working people.

After delivering her keynote address on Friday, Weingarten will join members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers as they gather at the Detroit Pubic School headquarters to tell Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts to stop dictating and start working collaboratively to ensure the students of Detroit have what they need to succeed.

Essential items the convention will address include:

  • Approving a new American Federation of Teachers mission statement that emphasizes the organization's commitment to championing fairness, democracy, economic opportunity, and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities.

  • Passing a resolution calling for an end to the fixation on high-stakes testing and the restoration of balance to public education by prioritizing high-quality instruction informed by appropriate and useful assessments.

  • Passing a resolution addressing the need for infrastructure and public service investment to create jobs as the AFT works to improve public education, prepare students for work and improve the outlook of the U.S. economy in the 21st century.

Featured speakers at this year's convention include Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, historian of education at New York University and best-selling author Diane Ravitch, New York Times columnist Charles Blowand United Auto Workers President Bob King (see list and schedule below).

To request media credentials, please contact Carolyn Fiddler at To pick up media credentials, media should go to the AFT press office in Cobo Center's Macomb Hall. See below for special RSVP instructions and logistics for Vice President Biden's address on Sunday.

AFT Convention at Cobo Center, Detroit
Speaker Highlights

  • Friday, July 27, 9 a.m. session
               AFT President Randi Weingarten

  •  Friday, July 27, Noon
                Rally at DPS,  3031 W. Grand Blvd.

  • Saturday, July 28, 9 a.m. session
                UAW President Bob King

  • Saturday, July 28, 2 p.m. session
                Diane Ravitch, NYU historian of education and best-selling author
                Rev. Wendell Anthony, Detroit Branch NAACP president

  • Sunday, July 29, 2:30 p.m. session
                U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee (Mich.)
                Dr. Jill Biden
                Vice President Joe Biden (see below for special instructions)
  • Monday, July 30, 7:30 a.m. Women's Rights Breakfast
                 Sandra Fluke, Georgetown Law School graduate
                 Betty Dukes, lead plaintiff in Dukes v. Wal-Mart

  • Monday, July 30, 9 a.m. session
                 Charles Blow, columnist for the New York Times

RSVP for Vice President Biden's address on Sunday: Press must RSVP to: Carolyn Fiddler at and provide the following information: media outlet, name, e-mail address, telephone number and role. The deadline to request credentials is Saturday, July 28, at 3 p.m. EDT.       

Logistical Information for Covering Vice President Biden:

HD Feed: A live pool feed of Vice President Biden's speech will be provided by Charles Stopak Productions. Please contact Alice Muglia for more information. 

Live Truck Arrival Time: 11 a.m. EDT

Media Pre-Set Time/Equipment Sweep: noon EDT (All media with equipment must pre-set equipment on site. Media will not have access to equipment from 12:30-2:30 p.m.)

Media Access Time: 2:30-3 p.m.

Final Media Access Time: 3 p.m.

Media Entrance: All media should enter Cobo Center through the Washington Boulevard entrance and proceed to the media booth in Macomb Hall for check-in.

Live Truck Parking: Loading dock, entrance located at Second Street and Congress Avenue. Further directions provided on site. 

General Media Parking: Parking garages are available in the surrounding area of the convention center. The parking facility closest to the media entrance is located at Congress Street and Washington Boulevard.

Throw: 95 feet

Cable Run: 900 feet

Limited power and workspace will be available. Wi-Fi is also available. 

An HD feed will be available to anyone who wishes to use it. Please reply to Alice Muglia if interested.

Contact for logistical and planning purposes (media only): Alice Muglia, 312-576-6966.

Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten:

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.