AFT National Higher Education Organizing Conference


Sent on behalf of Alyssa Picard, Director, AFT Higher Education:

Dear AFT Higher Ed Leaders,

Just a reminder that registration for the AFT National Higher Education Organizing Conference, April 28-30 in Detroit, MI, closes on Thursday, March 30.

We have a fantastic program including Tressie McMillan Cottom, Frances Fox Piven, Jane McAlevey and AFT President Randi Weingarten as keynote speakers (and note: for the first time, there is NO registration fee for the conference).

We hope to see as many of you as possible there; register today!

Here’s the link for conference registration:

We are delighted to be anchoring the organizing work of this conference with speakers including:

  • Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of “Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy,” on reclaiming the exploited ideal of higher education in America
  • Jane McAlevey, author of “Raising Expectations and Raising Hell: My Decade Fighting For the Labor Movement” and “No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age” on the urgent necessity of internal organizing, and
  • Frances Fox Piven, author of the landmark “Poor People’s Movements,” “Why Americans Don’t Vote,” and “Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America,” on resistance to authoritarianism and the fight ahead.

This is an organizing conference with a DIY spirit. Workshop sessions will have planning for intensive one-on-one engagement with your members and potential members first in mind. Also:

  • Stop by the Solidarity Booth to take action on issues affecting us throughout the country
  • Participate in creating your own conference swag with AFT member artists
  • Book a time for your team in our facilitated planning room to get your campaign off the ground!

Friday night, a dinner reception will highlight the work and activism of AFT’s adjunct and contingent faculty members. Saturday night, we’ll host a nonviolent bystander intervention training, where dinner will also be served.

Our Sunday closing plenary will be moderated by labor historian and LawyersGunsandMoney blogger Erik Loomis, featuring speakers from organizations allied in the fights for truth and justice (and our first-ever Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr. Awards for Outstanding In-Conference Achievements!).

A note on costs: in response to years of feedback about conference costs, for the first time this year, there is no registration fee for this event. Breakfasts, lunches and snacks are provided (please note: you need to check a box on the registration page to get a free ticket for Sunday breakfast); there is a $10 fee for dinner each night. Hotel rooms at the conference rate are $149/night plus 15% tax. Parking is free. We hope the significant reductions in the expenses of this event will make it possible for you and as many of your members as possible to attend.

Please join your fellow AFT members in Detroit to prepare, with enthusiasm, for what’s ahead!

In solidarity,
Alyssa Picard
Director, AFT Higher Education

PS. Alongside the conference, we are investigating the possibility of running a special, preregistration-only candidate school for members and allies who want to run for elected office. Because of the time involved, this would be an “either/or” option—you’d choose either the candidate school or the workshops. If you are interested in this option, please indicate this on the registration form.