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Contract Agreement, DFT, 1975-1977

 File — Box: 12, Folder: 12

Scope and Content

From the Collection: The Mary Ellen Riordan Papers contain correspondence, meeting minutes, notes, reports, newsletters, clippings, court documents and legal briefs, contracts, pamphlets, lesson plans, pamphlets, reference material and ephemera. Topics of note include collective bargaining and strikes; desegregation in the Detroit Public Schools, race relations generally, and especially surrounding the 1967 unrest in Detroit; fair share and agency fees and related court cases in which the DFT was involved; teaching materials from the 1930s through post-World War II in the subjects of math, science, and home economics; and teacher retirement.

Series 1: Detroit Federation of Teachers Files, 1934-2002 Records created by Mary Ellen Riordan and others that document the activities of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. Includes correspondence, notes, meeting agendas and minutes, and newsletters. Includes materials related to collective bargaining, contracts, strikes and strike threats, and grievances. Contains documents related to a variety of legal issues, including agency shop or fair share cases such as the U.S. Supreme Court case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Also includes materials for Riordan’s various campaigns for presidency, such as fliers, mailing lists, and newsletters. Some material relates to the history of DFT prior to Riordan’s presidency.

Series 2: Michigan Federation of Teachers Files, 1961-1982 Primarily includes material from meetings, including conventions, of the Michigan Federation of Teachers. Also includes Haven Hill conferences on leadership and collective bargaining, and information on teacher salaries, vouchers, and changes in the Michigan Constitution.

Series 3: American Federation of Teachers Files, 1957-1987 Records related to the activities of the American Federation of Teachers, particularly Mary Ellen Riordan’s involvement with the Executive Council and Executive Committee. Includes correspondence, reports, and convention and meeting packets with agendas, minutes, notes, fliers, and clippings. Also includes materials related to the different departments within AFT and related issues and causes.

Series 4: Personal and Family Files, 1935-2002 Personal items, correspondence, cards, notes, family papers, calendars, planners, notebooks and ephemera. Mary Ellen Riordan’s notes and other materials from her time as a student and teacher in White Cloud, Detroit and Germany. This includes lesson plans and other teaching materials in the subjects of home economics, chemistry, general science, English, and math. Documents related to traveling, particularly trips to Mexico and Brazil. Also includes honorary degrees, awards, citations, and other honors. Some content was originally housed in expanding files, and the current folder labels refer to their original order and arrangement. Images of plaques and other physical objects also make up this series and are stored in the Reuther Digital Repository.

Series 5: Subject Files, 1939-2004 Correspondence, reports, news clippings, pamphlets, meeting agendas, notes, and minutes. A large amount of material relates to Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Board of Education, as well as various organizations with which Mary Ellen Riordan was involved in Detroit and beyond. Includes materials related to the desegregation case Bradley v. Milliken, decentralization and recentralization of the school district, community relations, the High School Study Commission, teacher retirement, the White House Conference on Education, other labor unions, and legislation and laws.

Series 6: Audiovisual Materials, 1920-circa 1999 Audiocassette recordings include membership and board of education meetings, media interviews, speeches, and award ceremonies. Photographs, negatives, and slides include portraits of Mary Ellen Riordan, other DFT and AFT members including other presidents of the organization, and Presidents of the United States of America; events including DFT meetings, AFT conventions, and various banquets. Also includes a recording of Al Homburg’s “Teacher’s Lament” on 45rpm record.


  • 1920 - 2004

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Material primarily in English. Some material is in Spanish or Hebrew.


Collection is open for research.


From the Collection: 64.5 Linear Feet (4 MB, 58 SB, 5 OS)

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA