Person

David Hecker

Occupation:

Teachers union boss

David Hecker is the president of American Federation of Teachers Michigan (AFT Michigan) union, the second-largest teachers union in Michigan. [1] He has worked in the role of state president since 2001 and is also a vice president of the national American Federation of Teachers, AFT Michigan’s parent union. [2]

The right-of-center nonprofit investigative outfit Project Veritas released an undercover video in 2018 in which an AFT Michigan field representative stated that Hecker was involved in settlement discussions surrounding the case of a teacher who was an alleged child molester. [3] The AFT Michigan field representative said the teacher, who was never charged with a crime, was alleged to have molested an 8-year-old. While the school district moved to fire the teacher, AFT Michigan negotiated a severance package of $50,000 and six weeks pay for the teacher. [4] AFT Michigan lost a legal battle to try to stop the release of the video by Project Veritas. [5]

Hecker also gave a union president an award in 2012 for organizing a “sick out” as numerous teachers took the day off classes to go the state capitol and protest passage of Michigan’s state right-to-work law, which exempts non-members of unions from compulsory union fees. So many teachers missed class that day the school district had to close. [6]

Personal

Hecker is an officer-at-large of the Michigan Democratic Party. [7] He is also on the board of the Michigan League for Public Policy, a left-of-center racial-policy advocacy organization. He is also on the board of New Detroit, a racial-policy advocacy organization. New Detroit released a report that claimed systemic racism has led to blacks being more likely to contract and die from COVID-19. [8]

Hecker was the executive assistant to the president of the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO from 1986 to 1995. [9]

In May of 2018, the right-of-center investigative nonprofit Project Veritas released an undercover report in which an AFT Michigan field representative discussed a case of a teacher accused, but never charged, with sexual misconduct involving an 8-year-old child. [10] The school district superintendent tried to fire the teacher, but AFT Michigan negotiated a $50,000 payment for the teacher as well as six weeks of pay and allowed him to resign with his teaching certificate intact. The teacher denied all the allegations. [11] The AFT Michigan field representative said in the undercover video that Hecker was involved in discussions with how to deal with the situation. [12]

AFT Michigan filed a lawsuit in September 2017 and a Wayne County judge issued a temporary restraining order that stopped Project Veritas from using or publishing any of the information it had on the union. [13] A federal judge rejected AFT Michigan’s request for a preliminary injunction saying it would infringe on Project Veritas’ First Amendment rights and the federal judge also revoked a temporary restraining order in December 2017. [14] The Michigan Supreme Court declined to weigh in on the dispute in 2021. [15]

Right-To-Work Law

Hecker was quoted in 2012 in media stories in support of Michigan’s Proposal 2, which would have inserted into the state Constitution labor union-backed provisions that would guarantee organized labor collective bargaining privileges and ban the state legislature from passing a right-to-work law exempting non-union members forced to accept union representation from paying for unwanted representation. [16][17]

Then-Governor Rick Snyder (R) opposed Proposal 2 and had urged union leaders to not proceed with the ballot initiative. [18] After Proposal 2 was defeated in November of 2012,[19] Snyder, who had previously said right-to-work was too controversial to support, said he would consider right-to-work legislation. [20] Snyder met with Hecker in December 2012 and then stated that were ramifications to the decision of union leaders to pursue Proposal 2 over his objections. [21] The Republican-controlled state legislature passed right-to-work legislation in 2012, and it became effective in March 2013. [22] AFT Michigan’s membership has dropped since right-to-work became law. AFT Michigan reported having 23,388 total members in 2012, but total membership fell 21 percent to 18,479 in 2019. [23]

False Claim of Funding Cuts

Hecker wrote an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press on Feb. 12, 2012 claiming that elected officials cut more than $1 billion from our K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities.” [24] The Detroit Free Press fact-checked the claim of a $1 billion cut from public education and declared it was a “big and persistent untruth.” [25]

Support for Illegal Teacher Strikes

The Detroit Public Schools Community District’s teachers voted to conduct an illegal teacher strike in August 2020 because they wished to keep classrooms locked down as an ostensible result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan. [26]

AFT-Michigan stated that it would support a teacher strike if educators were forced to return to the classroom. [27] Detroit teachers reached an agreement weeks later to return to the classrooms. [28]

The Taylor (Michigan) School District closed in 2012 because teachers called in sick so they could attend a protest of the state’s recently passed right-to-work law. Taylor Superintendent Diane Allen said a principal informed her that the teachers were leaving their jobs to attend the protest. [29]

A month later, AFT Michigan posted a photo on Facebook of Hecker giving an award to the Taylor affiliate’s president for outstanding organizing for the anti-right-to-work rally. The union stated in the Facebook post, “They had so many members take a day off that the Taylor schools shut down.” [30]

Columnist for Michigan Advance

Hecker writes opinion pieces for Michigan Advance, a left-progressive online news outlet. His past columns focused on claims that public schools are underfunded, discussed systemic racism and its impact on public education,[31] and advocated increasing taxes on the rich. [32]

Wayne State University Labor Studies Center

Hecker was an adjunct professor of labor studies at Wayne State University. [33] That Wayne State division has been accused of being a “wholly owned subsidiary of Big Labor” by endorsing left-of-center political efforts and supporting union-backed legislation. [34]

References

  1. American Federation of Teachers. Accessed Aug. 6, 2021. http://fundourfuture.aft.org/fof-press ^
  2. American Federation of Teachers. Accessed Aug. 4, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-hecker ^
  3. Project Veritas. “BREAKING: Alleged Child Molester Paid Off In Union Negotiation By Michigan American Federation Of Teachers.” May 9, 2018. Accessed 8/4/2021. https://www.projectveritas.com/news/aft-michigan/ ^
  4. Project Veritas. “BREAKING: Alleged Child Molester Paid Off In Union Negotiation By Michigan American Federation Of Teachers.” May 9, 2018. Accessed Aug. 4, 2021. https://www.projectveritas.com/news/aft-michigan/ ^
  5. Lori Higgins. “Judge: Conservative Group Can Use Michigan Teacher’s Union Info.” Detroit Free Press. Dec. 27, 2017. Accessed Aug. 4, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2017/12/27/michigan-teachers-union-project-veritas/984084001/ ^
  6. WDIV. “Taylor Schools To Close Tuesday As Teachers Head To Lansing.” Dec. 11, 2012. Accessed Aug. 2, 2021. https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/2012/12/11/taylor-schools-to-close-tuesday-as-teachers-head-to-lansing/ ^
  7. American Federation of Teachers. Accessed Aug. 4, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-hecker ^
  8. Brookings Institution. “Examining And Addressing COVID-19 Racial Disparities In Detroit.” Accessed Aug. 5, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Detroit_Covid_report_final.pdf ^
  9. American Federation of Teachers. Accessed Aug. 4, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-hecker ^
  10. Project Veritas. “BREAKING: Alleged Child Molester Paid Off In Union Negotiation By Michigan American Federation Of Teachers.” May 9, 2018. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://www.projectveritas.com/news/aft-michigan/ ^
  11. Project Veritas. “BREAKING: Alleged Child Molester Paid Off In Union Negotiation By Michigan American Federation Of Teachers.” May 9, 2018. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://www.projectveritas.com/news/aft-michigan/ ^
  12. Project Veritas. “BREAKING: Alleged Child Molester Paid Off In Union Negotiation By Michigan American Federation Of Teachers.” May 9, 2018. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://www.projectveritas.com/news/aft-michigan/ ^
  13. Lori Higgins. “Judge: Conservative Group Can Use Michigan Teacher’s Union Info.” Detroit Free Press. Dec. 27, 2017. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2017/12/27/michigan-teachers-union-project-veritas/984084001/ ^
  14. Lori Higgins. “Judge: Conservative Group Can Use Michigan Teacher’s Union Info.” Detroit Free Press. Dec. 27, 2017. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2017/12/27/michigan-teachers-union-project-veritas/984084001/ ^
  15. Beth LeBlanc. “High Court Won’t Wade Into Confusion Over Michigan’s Secret Recording Law.” Detroit News. May 26, 2021. Accessed August 2, 2021. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/05/26/high-court-wont-wade-into-confusion-michigans-secret-recording-law/7454082002/ ^
  16. Steven Greenhouse. “Michigan Vote A Test Case On Enshrining The Rights Of Unions.” New York Times. Oct. 25, 2012. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/business/in-midwest-labor-presses-for-a-vote-to-lock-in-union-rights.html ^
  17. State of Michigan. Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. “Freedom To Work.” Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154–292490–,00.html ^
  18. Detroit Free Press. Paul Egan. Dec. 20, 2012. “Snyder: Right-To-Work On The Table.” Accessed August 6, 2021. ^
  19. Ballotpedia. Michigan Protect Our Jobs Amendment, Proposal 2 (2012). Accessed August 6, 2021. https://ballotpedia.org/Michigan_%22Protect_Our_Jobs%22_Amendment,_Proposal_2_(2012) ^
  20. Detroit Free Press. Paul Egan. Dec. 20, 2012. “Snyder: Right-To-Work On The Table.” Accessed August 6, 2021. ^
  21. Detroit Free Press. Paul Egan. Dec. 20, 2012. “Snyder: Right-To-Work On The Table.”  Accessed August 6, 2021. ^
  22. Detroit Free Press. Paul Egan. Dec. 20, 2012. “Snyder: Right-To-Work On The Table.” Accessed August 6, 2021. ^
  23. AFT-Michigan. Form LM-2. 2019. Schedule 13. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://olmsapps.dol.gov/query/orgReport.do?rptId=710734&rptForm=LM2Form ^
  24. Detroit Free Press. David Hecker. Feb. 12, 2012. “Right-To-Work Laws Don’t Create Jobs.” Accessed August 6, 2021. ^
  25. Paul Egan. “Freep Fact Check: New Snyder Ad Confronts $1B Claim About Education Funding.” Detroit Free Press. Sept. 29, 2014. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2014/09/29/snyder-tv-ad-touts-education-spending/16425359/ ^
  26. John Wisely. “Detroit Teachers Authorize ‘Safety Strike’ If Demands Are Not Met.” Detroit Free Press. Aug. 19, 2020. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2020/08/19/detroit-teachers-vote-safety-strike-if-demands-arent-met/5606115002/ ^
  27. AFT Michigan. Press Release. “Schools Should Not Resume In-Person Instruction Until It’s Safe For Students And Educators.” August 5, 2020. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://aftmichigan.org/aft-michigan-releases-guidelines-for-school-reopenings/ ^
  28. John Wisely. “Detroit Teachers Authorize ‘Safety Strike’ If Demands Are Not Met.” Detroit Free Press. Aug. 19, 2020. Accessed August 4, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2020/08/19/detroit-teachers-vote-safety-strike-if-demands-arent-met/5606115002/ ^
  29. WDIV. “Taylor Schools To Close Tuesday As Teachers Head To Lansing.” Dec. 11, 2012. Accessed August 2, 2021. https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/2012/12/11/taylor-schools-to-close-tuesday-as-teachers-head-to-lansing/ ^
  30. AFT Michigan. Jan. 28, 2013 Facebook post. Accessed August 2, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/aftmichigan/photos/a.397039267082/10151258812402083 ^
  31. David Hecker. “David Hecker: Public Education Must Continue To Fight Ugly Truth Of Racism.” Michigan Advance. June 11, 2021. Accessed August 5, 2021. https://michiganadvance.com/2021/06/11/david-hecker-public-education-must-continue-to-fight-ugly-truth-of-racism/ ^
  32. David Hecker. “Column: It’s Time For Billionaires To Pay Their Fair Share Of Taxes.” Michigan Advance. July 19, 2021. Accessed August 5, 2021.  https://michiganadvance.com/2021/07/19/column-its-time-for-billionaires-to-pay-their-fair-share-of-taxes/ ^
  33. Cherry Commission. Biographies. Archived from the original Feb. 16, 2006. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20060216001050/http://www.cherrycommission.org/docs/Bios/All%20BIOs.pdf ^
  34. Braun, Ken. “Wayne State’s ‘Wholly Owned Subsidiary’ of Big Labor.” Michigan Capitol Confidential. Feb. 8, 2010. https://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/12070. ^
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