Press Release

American Federation of Teachers to Meet in Detroit in July

For Release: 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Carolyn Fiddler

AFT President Randi Weingarten, Charles Blow, Diane Ravitch, UAW President Bob King Among Major Speakers

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers 2012 convention will be held in Detroit on July 26-30 at Cobo Center, 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.

Convention attendees will discuss the challenges facing educators, healthcare providers and public employees as corporate and special interests invest millions of dollars in anti-worker attacks, and as budget cuts have left hundreds of thousands of educators and public workers unemployed, jeopardizing the services AFT members provide. Delegates will also address how educators and public employees can play a leading role in improving the communities where they work and live in the face of these attacks, as well as how AFT members can serve as agents of change to improve the institutions in which they work while pioneering innovative solutions to better address the needs of students, educators and our communities.

The convention opens July 27 with AFT President Randi Weingarten's keynote address. Other speakers will include Diane Ravitch, who is a historian of education at New York University and a best-selling author; New York Times columnist Charles Blow; United Auto Workers President Bob King; Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony; and activists Betty Dukes and Sandra Fluke. These and additional speakers will address the more than 3,000 delegates, who will debate and vote on major union policies. AFT members will also engage in school supply drives, urban farming and other community service activities all over Detroit.

Weingarten is completing her second two-year term as AFT president. Under Weingarten's leadership, the AFT has: 

  • Taken on the special interests attacking public education and public employees while helping workers fight against the damaging effects of extreme budget cuts;
  • Engaged in groundbreaking work to increase educational and economic opportunities for all Americans through better labor-management collaboration, overhauling the teacher evaluation system, investing in public education, and removing barriers to student success associated with socioeconomic conditions;
  • Undertaken a cooperative effort with several nonprofits and corporations to help revive the struggling community and schools in McDowell County, W.Va.; and
  • Partnered with TES Connect to create the recently launched "Share My Lesson," an expansive online community for teachers to collaborate and share teaching resources and innovative ideas.

AFT members will use the 2012 convention to recommit to this work and seek new ways to link the work they do every day with the people they serve.

For media credentials, please contact Carolyn Fiddler at

AFT Convention at Cobo Center, Detroit
Speaker Highlights:

Friday, July 27
AFT President Randi Weingarten

Saturday, July 28
UAW President Bob King
Rev. Wendell Anthony, Detroit Branch NAACP president
Diane Ravitch, NYU historian of education and best-selling author

Sunday, July 29
Special guest TBA

Monday, July 30
Charles Blow, columnist for the New York Times
Sandra Fluke, Georgetown Law School graduate
Betty Dukes, lead plaintiff in Dukes v. Wal-Mart

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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.