In the Shadow of the Rouge Plant: Dearborn’s Newest Labor Union
by Marjorie Lynn
Bill Norris had had enough. Finally, in early summer of 2007, he became fed up with the situation of so many of the adjunct faculty and approached the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, AFL-CIO to begin the process of organizing almost 600 part-time faculty at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, MI. Aided by John MacDonald, the President of the HFCC-FT Local 1650 (the full-time faculty union) and by the AFT, the HFCC-AFO (Adjunct Faculty Organization) began holding meetings to gauge interest in unionizing. Plenty of it was found.
Indeed, from those initial meetings in the summer, through the labor-intensive Pledge Drive during the Fall term, to certification by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission in December, the AFO moved very quickly through the initial process toward becoming a union. They got membership cards signed by well over the 30 percent of the names required. They filed these with MERC in December; MERC agreed that enough interest had been shown to warrant an election which they held in early spring 2008, and won.
When this piece was written, the AFO aided by AFT representatives was negotiating with the Administration and its lawyers to determine the process for an
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