David Hecker

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David Hecker

David Hecker is a Michigan labor leader. He is president of the Michigan Federation of Teachers & School Related Personnel , a statewide union of 93 locals and 35,000 members representing K–12 and intermediate school districts, community colleges, universities, and state and municipal governments. Prior to being elected president, Hecker served as secretary-treasurer of the state federation. He also serves as executive vice president of the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO, and chair of the Labor Council’s Strategic Solidarity Committee.

Hecker serves on the American Federation of Teachers Pre K–12 Program and Policy Council, is an active member of Michigan’s Education Alliance, and works with affiliated locals on the school district level. [1]


Hecker has a PhD in industrial relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has served as an adjunct professor of labor studies at Wayne State University.[2]


Hecker serves on the boards of the Michigan Association for Children with Emotional Disorders and the Jewish Community Council; the Board of Visitors for the Wayne State University College of Urban, Labor, and Metropolitan Affairs; and the National Board of the Jewish Labor Committee. He is an officer of the Michigan Democratic Party and past president of the Metro Detroit chapter of the Industrial Relations Research Institute. He received the 2002 “Champion of Hope” award from the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.[3]

AFT leader

In 2007 David Hecker was American Federation of Teachers-Michigan President.

DSA member

David Hecker, President of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan and a lifetime DSA member.[4]

2007 Frederick Douglass-Eugene V. Debs Dinner/DSA member

Over 250 people attended the Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America 2007 Frederick Douglass-Eugene V. Debs Dinner held at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn on Saturday, November 17. The dinner honored State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith and American Federation of Teachers-Michigan President David Hecker. Michigan State AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney delivered the keynote address—a PowerPoint presentation on the threat of Right-to-Work (for less) legislation in Michigan. The dinner co-chairs were Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO President Saundra Williams and retired UAW Vice-President Richard Shoemaker. The Bill Meyer Group provided entertainment.

David Hecker captured the mood of the evening in his acceptance speech:[5]

Alice and I are proud lifetime members of DSA and have been so for about the past twenty years.We both go back to the days of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC). I realize merger with the New American Movement (NAM) some twenty-five years ago demanded a name change, but I much prefer the name DSOC. Why? Because it says ‘Organizing Committee.’ Our ability tobe effective is based on our power. We build power through organizing. You all know that. You do it every day. In fact, if Ethel Schwartz, Selma Goode, and Helen Samberg haven’t talked with you tonight and persuaded twenty of you to attend yet another event, I would be disappointed..."

YDS Student Debt Crisis Talk-in

In 2008, MSU Young Democratic Socialists and Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America held a Student Debt Crisis Talk-in. The panel included speakers David Hecker (president AFT-Michigan), Darrell Tennis (founder of Capitol Service), David Duhalde (Youth Organizer for DSA), and with an introduction given by Gina Rome, a MSU James Madison Freshman and Young Democratic Socialists member.[6]

2010 Detroit DSA Douglass-Debs Dinner

Over 200 people attended the eleventh annual Frederick Douglass-Eugene V. Debs Dinner at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn on May 8th, 2010. Local 600 was the home local of the hunger marchers of the 1930s and is adjacent to the site of the “Battle of the Overpass” which launched Walter Reuther into national prominence.

The Douglass-Debs Dinner is the annual fundraising event for Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America . 2010 honorees were UAW Vice President James Settles, Jr. and Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO President Saundra Williams. The dinner co-chairs were UAW Region 1A Director Rory Gamble and American Federation of Teachers-Michigan President David Hecker.

In his acceptance speech, Settles promised that the new UAW leadership which is expected to be elected at their convention in June, would be more progressive in its political orientation.

Bill Fletcher, Jr., the Director of Field Services and Education for the American Federation of Government Employees , delivered the keynote address. His topic was “Right-Wing Populism.” Fletcher warned that progressives ignore the threat of right-wing populism at their own peril. He traced the history of this phenomenon from the Andrew Jackson administration . He mentioned the “Birthers,” the “Oathers,” and the Tea Party movement as manifestations of right-wing populism. He challenged the Left to confront right-wing populism and expose the fatuousness of their ideas. Failure to do so may be self-defeating as some of the ideas of the right-wing populists (e.g., conspiracy theories, condemnation of political and media elites) could prove seductive to a portion of our base.[7]

2012 DSA Conyers Fundraiser

Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee, held a fundraising reception for Representative John Conyers, Jr., at Colors Restaurant on Sunday, May 27th 2012, from 2-5 PM. Guest of honor was Jim Hightower—noted progressive radio commentator and editor of the Hightower Lowdown.

Co-hosts were David Bullock, President of the Detroit branch of Operation PUSH, Tim Carpenter, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, David Hecker, President of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, and Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network.[8]

2013 14th Annual Douglass-Debs Dinner

167 people attended the fourteenth annual Frederick Douglass-Eugene V. Debs Dinner at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn on Saturday, October 19, 2013. Honorees were retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly and Reverend Charles Williams, II, Pastor of King Solomon Baptist Church. Keynote speaker was Joel Bleifuss, publisher of In These Times magazine.

Dinner co-chairs were Rory Gamble, Director of UAW Region IA, and David Hecker, President of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan. Entertainment was provided by actress Karen Kron who performed a selection from Emma, an upcoming Matrix Theater production on the life of radical activist Emma Goldman and by folksinger Julie Beutel.

Justice Kelly received the Douglass-Debs Award for her strong defense of workers’ rights and consumers’ rights during her tenure on the court. She has also worked to expand ordinary citizens’ access to the courts. In addition, Justice Kelly has been an advocate of public education. She served for twelve years on the State Board of Education.

Reverend Williams is a local labor, civil rights, and social justice advocate. He is the local leader of the [[National Action Network]] which organized last summer’s commemoration of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 Civil Rights March through downtown Detroit. He has been one of the leading voices protesting against the Detroit bankruptcy.

In his keynote address, Joel Bleifuss emphasized the importance of electoral work in promoting progressive change.[9]