Response by Detroit Federation of Teachers Interim President Ivy Bailey on Judge Steven Rhodes’ statement on the action by DFT
for Monday, May 2
Detroit—Response by Detroit Federation of Teachers Interim President Ivy Bailey on Judge Steven Rhodes’ statement on the planned action by DFT for Monday, May 2.
“When we learned this weekend that Detroit Public Schools was preparing plans to withhold salaries for work done by educators in May and June, we asked Judge Rhodes to assure us this was a rumor. When he told us that this was not a rumor but that he would try to figure out a way to ensure teachers are paid for their work, we asked him for three simple words: ‘I guarantee it.’ Unfortunately, he would not make that guarantee this morning, nor could he do so this evening.
“There’s a basic agreement in America: When you put in a day’s work, you’ll receive a day’s pay. DPS is breaking that deal. Teachers want to be in the classroom giving children a chance to learn and reach their potential. Unfortunately, by refusing to guarantee that we will be paid for our work, DPS is effectively locking our members out of the classrooms.
“Judge Rhodes is right—we have built a collaborative relationship between his office and our union. But at a certain point, we can no longer move forward on good intentions alone. We were already promised that teachers would be paid for their work through June 30, but now DPS says it can’t keep that promise. Teachers in Detroit have sacrificed greatly to ensure our schools stay open and our kids have the opportunity to learn. But working without pay is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Teachers have mortgage payments, utility bills, grocery bills. Being paid for their work isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
“We look forward to finding a solution that keeps our schools open for our students and keeps the bargain of being paid for one’s labor.”