A Note to WeROC Members and Supporters:
As many of you know, WeROC participants have been struggling together about how best to address the crisis that has resulted from the immoral de-funding of badly needed mental health services all around our county — especially for residents in eastern Washtenaw and other areas with larger numbers of underserved neighbors. WeROC’s Clergy Caucus and other leaders have now met with several key County elected officials, to inform a collective decision about supporting the County-wide millage on our ballot this November 7.
This has been a tough decision, but the decision by the leaders present to support a YES vote on this millage was unanimous. With little expectation of more funding from Lansing or DC any time soon, the consensus was that we need strong action, and now. The millage would also maintain the Sheriff’s Department coverage of police services around the County, while also supporting jail diversion programs to get people the services they need, when the need them, not a criminal record. The tax increase for the average home (and usually passed through to rentals) would be about “a cup of coffee a week”, as the “YES” campaign says.
Many of us wish the proposal had been less complex, but the need is great and urgent. Plus, if it passes, WeROC is prepared to be on the front lines of pressuring County decisionmakers — the Sheriff, the Board of Commissioners, the Community Mental Health Director, and others — to direct the money where it’s needed most, and with full transparency — including increasing the embarassingly low pay of mental health workers in our County.
WeROC leaders hope you will vote YES for the millage, and encourage you to pass the word to your congregations, organizations, networks, families, and friends.
More information from the campaign is at this link: https://www.facebook.com/yesonwashtenawmentalhealth/
Tad Wysor, Volunteer WeROC Organizer
WeROC October Meeting of the Whole, this Thursday, October 5, 5:30-7:30, Strong Tower Ministries, South Building, 134 Spencer Ln, Ypsi Township (first building off E. Michigan Av). Light dinner provided.
Some of the special strengths of WeROC are our commitment to find ways together to address meaningful community issues — in ways that connect to other issues, AND in ways that make us stronger and more united for the next fight. That’s why it’s important for as many of us as possible to meet face-to-face as often as possible, so we can develop and test relationships, learn from each other, take chances together…things that work best in person. Serious input from leaders and members from the faith community, local labor movement, and other parts of the community is so important at a time like this. Please try to make the time to participate Thursday!
We’ll be discussing how two unexpected but important organizing opportunities fit into our “County Equity” theme:
Countywide Mental Health Services/Public Safety Millage (November ballot): Clergy and other community leaders have recently met separately with our first three County Commissioners and are scheduling a meetings with Sheriff Clayton and others We’ll discuss what we’re learning from these conversations, about how a more organized community — congregations, local unions, organizations, and other institutions and individuals working more effectively together — can make a serious difference in addressing the crisis in mental health services and funding in our County — and in ways that are more equitable across all parts of Washtenaw.
Consistent Policies toward Community Economic Development: As the City of Ypsilanti faces the potential of AND the challenges of a major new economic development project (International Village), and likely others, WeROC is exploring how we might learn from the surge in grassroots involvement in the fast-moving events and how we might work with others to develop consistent development policies for the future from the ground up, including the role of Community Benefits Ordinances and Agreements. Not an Ypsi resident? Well, there’s no reason why new approaches to community invovlement in economic development that Ypsi residents are creating with City Council and others, should not not become a model for others around our County and region, right? Another case of “we’re all in this together”!
WeROC friends and supporters —
First, an important announcement: We’ve decided it makes sense to cancel the September WeROC Meeting of the Whole. In the meantime, our Clergy Caucus has been taking the lead in exploring how WeROC might best participate in the November county-wide milllage vote for mental health and public safety funding. Expect a report soon from meetings with key County Commissioners happening this week, which may be leading to a major public meeting before November. Please begin thinking about how we all would turn out big numbers from our organizations and networks for such an event. More to come about the October 5 Meeting of the Whole..
Now here’s the urgent request: Our good friends — and WeROC co-founders — EMU Federation of Teachers needs our help at an especially frustrating point in their many months of bargaining. At the very time when WeROC is ramping up our narrative about moving toward greater equity across Washtenaw County, EMU’s administration is suddenly digging in on a position that would be another blow not just to employees of the University, but more broadly to the the economy of our County, especially in the eastern part that EMU calls home.
Please read below about the administration’s misplaced priorities and their short-sighted effort to “balance the budget on the backs of the lowest paid teachers.” Then take 5 minutes to call the offices of the President and the Provost as soon as you can. Say you’re a taxpayer, and you expect your tax dollars to go toward boosting, not draining, the economy of the communities around EMU — which clearly includes a fair contract for part-time lecturers.
We can all be proud of the work we’ve done to build WeROC to this point. Now let’s show the EMU administration what community solidarity looks like!
[From David Hecker, President of AFT of Michigan]
Support EMU Part-Time Lecturers, Call EMU President and Provost
After six months and more than 120 hours of negotiations, EMU administration’s proposals continue to slash job security for Part Time Lecturers, who teach 45% of the courses, and give clear financial incentives to hire new lecturers over existing PTLs. Lecturers are represented by the Eastern Michigan Federation of Teachers.
EMU’s lead negotiator insisted that monetarily the proposals are “literally everything we have.” and that they need to “establish an entry level tier that [they] can balance the budget on”.
– This “entry level tier” is a pay cut of $450 per course taught.
– This “entry level tier” is below the first bargained rate by EMUFT in 2011.
– Since 2011, tuition at EMU has increased 37%
– Only 7% of the tuition revenue generated by a typical class goes towards PTL pay.
President Smith’s bio begins: “President Smith has led an active initial year at Eastern, undertaking many positive strategic initiatives.”
– Are gutting job security and cutting pay for the lowest paid teachers both positive and strategic initiatives on campus? Call the President at 734-487-2211 and insist that a fair contract for Part Time Lecturers is a positive and strategic initiative on campus!
Provost Longworth said upon her appointment, “Our committed faculty, staff and leadership team serve and inspire students day in, day out with their dedication and commitment.”
– Does this explain why we should accept devastating cuts for the lowest paid teachers on campus? Call the Provost at 734-487-3200 and demand her dedication and commitment to Part Time Lecturers through a fair contract!
By the way, head football coach Chris Creighton last month was offered a 2.5% raise every year until 2022, bringing his current base salary to $425,000, and President Jim Smith received a $60,000 raise over his predecessor when he was hired for $400,000 last summer. EMU is trying to balance the budget on the backs of the lowest paid teachers on campus while putting athletics and administration first!
Join us for our next WeROC Meeting of the Whole:
When: Thursday, August 3 at 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Where: First Congregational UCC Church, 218 N Adams St, Ypsilanti
This month, we will discuss how we can best become involved in designing and passing a major county-wide millage to fund critically needed general mental health related services through the Sheriff’s Department.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT
Tad Wysor – email@example.com
Join us today for our July 2017 WeROC Meeting of the Whole:
Thursday July 6, 5:30 PM
New Beginnings Community Church, 4859 Ellsworth, Ypsilanti
(Light dinner provided.)
Here’s what’s happening: If you’ve been to any of our community organizing trainings, you know that the lifeblood of WeROC and MOSES is action…smart, collective, effective action, that lives out our values. Not only that, though, we design our action campaigns to create meaningful improvements and at the same time build WeROC as a powerful local and regional organization. Well, as you read this, WeROC leaders have begun seriously exploring how we can best become involved in designing and passing a major county-wide millage to fund critically needed general mental health related services through the Sheriff’s Department.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT
Tad Wysor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Our June “first Thursday” Meeting of the Whole is Thursday, June 1, 5:30-7:15 pm, at Strong Tower Ministries, 134 Spencer Ln, Ypsilanti Township. (Light dinner provided). And isn’t this exactly the kind of time when, more than ever, we need good people from a lot of backgrounds and perspectives and experiences to get together and listen to each other? So much around us is changing so fast, and so much of it is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before — especially the rapid increase in major policy decisions being made or considered that seem designed to take more away from those among us who have already have been living with too much economic and racial and social inequity for too long.
Thursday, May 4, is our monthly WeROC Meeting of the Whole:
5:30 pm – 7:15 pm
Community Church of God
565 Jefferson Avenue
Ypsilanti, MI 48197.
Light dinner provided. Learn of next actions on education (followup to meeting with Ypsi Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Edmonson) and on public safety (plans for Neighborhood Listening Campaign near Community Church of God in Ypsi).
Come learn how you can make these powerful upcoming actions stronger with your participation.