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Welcome to the Dearborn, MI Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)!

AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Founded in 1881, AAUW is open to graduates with an associate or higher degree from an accredited college or university, as well as students currently enrolled in college.  Dues support the operations of the Dearborn-Michigan branch, founded in 1933, as well as the state and national organizations.

Our contradictions link all of us!

“The gifted man bears his gifts into the world, not for his own benefit, but for the people among whom he is placed; for the gifts are not his; he himself is a gift to the community.” — Henry Ford

Citizens of Dearborn are products of the legacy of Henry Ford. On acreage donated  by him, one attends schools and colleges named for him and other members of his family. The hospital named for him has a large presence in this community. The corporation named for him employs a substantial percentage of the population. A labor force and management produce his products. He was celebrated for coming up with the five-dollar day and disparaged for  employing Harry Bennett’s so-called “Service Department to bust” the union at the Battle of the Overpass There is an historic museum and village here because of him. His thread knots this community together. And like anything tied up in knots, twists and turns need be threaded with care.

One more thing needs to be mentioned. There are increasing numbers of engineers in the Detroit area due to the automotive industry, and  Ford Motor Company has invested large sums in STEM education.

Congratulations are in order!

This Tuesday evening at our Installation Dinner, leadership passes from three current officers to new officers for program vice president, administrative vice president and president. This will be an auspicious day for the Dearborn Branch as connections to the University of Michigan-Dearborn hover over the ceremony.

Fellen-judge-gonzalezor two decades of her life, Ellen Judge-Gonzalez was a part-time, non-traditional student trying to maintain a work-life balance among her responsibilities to school, work and family. She holds degrees from UM-D and Wayne State. She is the Director of SOAR and lectures in speech and interpersonal communication at UM-D. Program Vice-president is a position that is key to any AAUW branch. It demands an inquiring-creative mind and an ability to discern programs of educational value. Finding venues is another challenge. Doing all of this with few funds just adds to the mix. Ellen Judge-Gonzalez has stepped up to the task and will do an outstanding job for us.

Judy Berry-Buck was born and raised in Dearborn and is a graduate of University of Michigan-Dearborn. Her wDSC05087[1] (2)ork experience includes retail management; so she knows how to balance both books and people! At Ford Motor Company, she worked in Training and Development, Leadership Training and Orientation Management; so Judy Berry-Buck is perfectly suited to become our Administrative Vice-president. She substituted for a very busy Chris Hilbush, who was dealing with family obligations, at the book sale and has been learning the ropes ever since. Judy is knowledgeable about the mission of AAUW and is well-positioned to assume her new responsibilities dealing with the distribution of monies from the Branch-and-Community Fund.  Judy is thoughtful, considerate and generous.

Valerie Murphy-Goodrich has worked in human resources in a number of settings. Most recently, she was the Human ResoDSC_0012urces Administrator for the City of Dearborn. In addition to implementing training and development programs, she developed the first, employee handbook for the city. Some of her job functions included recruitment and hiring, employee relations, handling grievances, investigations and policy implementation. Her work as Human Resources Director for the University of Michigan-Dearborn included working with the Affirmative Action Office on diversity issues. In addition, she is erudite about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Her work in conflict resolution is also extensive. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn where she also taught as a lecturer. She is a past president of the Michigan Public Employers Labor Relations Association and Dearborn Rotary. Valerie is cultured, cultivated and courageous as well! As president of the Dearborn branch of AAUW, Valerie will preside at meetings, enforce the bylaws, and function as our administrative and executive officer. She will guide the development of branch objectives.
The Dearborn Branch wishes each of them personal success, as well as success for our branch. We trust their terms of office will provide them individual satisfaction, and we offer wholehearted congratulations to each!

The Nominations Committee included: Chair Sally Barnett,Kim Foo, Mary Harrison, Ellen Judge-Gonzalez and Valerie Murphy-Goodrich.

Kudos to Cuomo

p230-4-jpgMany manicurists have been exploited and suffer illnesses caused by the chemicals with which they work. Because so many workers are undocumented immigrants, they fear authorities and rarely speak up. After an investigative article appeared in last week’s New York Times (See our branch Facebook page to read it.), Governor Andrew M. Cuomo decided to tackle wage theft and health hazards endured by laborers in nail salons. By taking on such exploitation, Gov. Cuomo strikes a blow against human trafficking!

Here is an brief overview of his action plan.
1. Salon-by-salon investigations will be conducted.
2. Protecting manicurists from dangerous chemicals will begin.
3. Workers will be educated of their rights in a multilingual-education program aimed at Asians.

4. Nail salons who fail to pay workers back wages, or are unlicensed, will be shut down.

5. Salons will be required to post signs informing workers of their rights, including the fact that it is illegal to work without wages!
This frontal assault on unfair labor practices and wage theft can help alleviate part of the human trafficking problem. It appears to be a plan other governors could emulate.

The industry has been an entry point for immigrants who have suffered exploitation as they labor over others’ hands and feet.

  • New rules demand that manicurists must wear gloves to reduce the risks of contracting fungal infections and warts as well as to protect them from chemical burns.
  • Hospital-style masks will be required in an effort to prevent exposure to dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde, chemicals used in nail products that are linked to leukemia and fetal defects.
  • To reduce the chemical fumes, ventilation will be required.
  • Salons will have to be bonded to ensure that workers can eventually be paid if salon owners are found to have underpaid the workers. Salon owners have traditionally hidden assets when found guilty of wage theft.
  • An education campaign to inform workers they have the right be compensated fully, regardless of their immigration status, and encourage them to report mistreatment.

Please consider contacting your elected officials to do something similar in MIchigan!

Hope you had a relaxing Mothers’ Day

from <MomsRising.org>  —children-cartoon1

We have a modern labor force, but we don’t have modern workplace policies to match. Women are now a full 50% of the labor force for the first time in history, and three-quarters of moms are now in the labor force. Yet despite this monumental change, our public policies are stuck in the Stone Age. The U.S. lags behind most other industrialized nations when it comes to access to paid family leave, sick days and affordable childcare. This hurts our families, our businesses and our economy.


  • Childcare shouldn’t cost more than college—particularly when parents need safe, enriching places for children to be so they can work. But it does.
  • Everyone should have a chance to get better when they’re sick. Eighty percent of low-wage workers don’t have access to a single paid-sick day.
  • Having a baby should not be a leading cause of poverty, a time when income dips below what’s needed for food and rent. Only 13% of people in the U.S. have access to paid-family leave after a baby arrives, a policy which is the norm in the rest of the world.
  • Being a mom is an even greater predictor of wage discrimination than gender. All women should receive fair pay; yet women, and particularly moms and women of color, experience wage discrimination each day.

Voters KISSed-off Proposal One


Michigan voters just KISSed-off Proposal One.

Note to LEGISLATORS, KISS. To solve a problem, “Keep It Simple Stupid.”
Backers of Proposal One spent: $8.7 million in support. Opponents of Proposal One spent: $195,527, a mere pittance in comparison!
This time money didn’t talk. Voters balked.

No question Michigan residents don’t pay enough for road repairs when compared to other states.

No question that fuel consumption is dropping due to fuel-efficient cars.

No question that over a quarter of bridges in Michigan are obsolete.

No question that road conditions are increasing tire wear and damage to vehicles.

Proposal One was muddled and murky. Instead of focusing upon a single crisis, it took on schools, cities, mass transit and the state general fund.

Michigan citizens have witnessed substantial business-tax cuts. Michigan’s dwindling middle class heaves more-and-more of the State-tax burden onto its aching-breaking backs.
Michigan citizens have witnessed Lottery funds go from backing education to disappearing into the black hole of the General Budget.

LEGISLATORS could have raised just the State sales tax by one percent. Instead they muddied everything by trying to raise taxes on wholesale fuel, raising vehicle-registration fees and restoring tax credits for low-income workers. To be effective, proposals should be written in clear, concise, coherent language.

Note to LEGISLATORS: Make roads a priority in the State budget. Make contractors accountable for their work. Do the job we, THE ELECTORATE, elected you to do. Strive to regain OUR trust. Get rid of the gimmicks. Stop the shell games. Stop Michigan’s race to the bottom. Demonstrate integrity for genuine long-term gains.

Common sense has devolved into an oxymoron for too many state officials!

Let’s All Study Gender Economics!

Barbara Bergmann persisted.
She challenged assumptions and doubted conclusions.BERGMANN-OBIT-WEB-master180
She defeated discrimination.
She overcame barriers to women
Never shy, she had a voice that was outspoken and forceful when communicating her insights.

“We have our Scrooges, and lately the Scrooges have grown bolder in expressing themselves, but we are not a nation of Scrooges. On the contrary, we are a nation that, seeing voluntary efforts as commendable but chronically insufficient, has for almost 50 years been relieving social distress through the federal Treasury, using the coercive powers of government to collect the funds.”

In the mid-1950s, she was doing graduate work at Harvard. At that time, one library was off-limits to women! Women had just been permitted to work as teaching fellows. Exams were administered separately for men and women. The atmosphere was clearly less than congenial. It clarifies why the seven sister colleges were so significant at the time. Even getting an academic job was dicey unless a woman wanted to teach at a women’s college.

Her book, The Economic Emergence of Women, documents the history of women in the workplace. Prior to the rise of feminism, woman began to join the labor force in large numbers in the nineteenth century. Bergmann argued that leaving the home and working for hire was not a result of changing attitudes. Her thesis declared that economic forces made women’s labor too valuable to be confined to domestic work!

She foresaw that computers would destroy jobs for typists, secretaries and clerical workers; tasks largely performed by women. She also predicted that salaries would be adversely impacted in such fields. She pointed out the economic law of unintended consequences. While technology improved productivity, women suffered ever more difficulty finding jobs. The outcome was society producing more poverty.

Bergmann called for the government to do more on behalf of women and single-parent families. She argued they needed to increase access to day care and pass legislation mandating pay equity. She may have passed, but her work has not!

Born July 20, 1927
B.A. from Cornell in 1948
Ph.D. in economics from Harvard in 1958
Subsequently taught at Harvard
Joined the White House Council of Economic Advisers in 1961.
Co-founded the International Association for Feminist Economics
Worked at Brandeis University and the Brookings Institution
University of Maryland faculty 1965 –1988
American University faculty 1988 — 1997
Died April 5, 2015

From Lee Savage, College/University Director


Branch and state board member, Lee Savage needs your help in getting the word about a new initiative out. “If you know a college student that would be a good fit, please encourage them to apply. They need a recommendation from either a branch member or a campus administrator. If you are thinking of them, you could volunteer to write their recommendation. Getting the recommendation is to me the hardest part of the application process.”

AAUW Michigan proudly announces the creation of a state Student Advisory Council (SAC).

The SAC is a state coalition of student leaders that will advise AAUW Michigan on strategies for the future of young women and girls, make program recommendations, write for the AAUW newsletter and blog, develop student workshops and introduce speakers at the AAUW MI Fall Leadership Conference and the State Annual Meeting & Convention.

An Amazing Leadership Opportunity for Students

Serving on the AAUW MI SAC will provide college women with many opportunities to represent the voices of students, develop as leaders, network, and gain valuable, résumé-building experience. SAC members gain mentors and learn how to mentor others. They learn how to apply their strengths toward individual and team projects. They learn about gender issues and network with state and community leaders at the AAUW MI Fall Leadership Conference and the AAUW MI Annual Meeting & Convention. Through these experiences, they will gain leadership skills and find a community within AAUW.

Spread the Word to Branches, Colleges, and Students You Know!

Applications are currently open and will close May 1, 2015. Each year up to 10 students will be selected to serve on the AAUW MI SAC and become AAUW ambassadors on their campuses. Members will serve a one year term beginning July 1, 2015 and ending June 30, 2016. Students are to participate in monthly electronic meetings and attend our Fall Leadership Conference at the Sheraton Detroit Novi on 10/31/2015 and our 2016 Annual Meeting & Convention at the Somerset Inn in Troy on 4/28/2016. AAUW Michigan will pay for SAC members’ registrations at these one day events.

Application and instructions can be found on the AAUW MI website: http://aauwmi.org/state-student-advisory-council/

Students must complete the application form as well as include a brief resume, a recommendation letter from a staff or faculty member at their college/university or a member of their local AAUW branch, and a maximum 600 word essay. The essay needs to include their reason(s) for applying to become part of the AAUW Michigan SAC, the skills and qualities possessed that make them an excellent candidate for the position, a time they exhibited leadership (in school or elsewhere), the gender issue(s) that they are most passionate about and why, and what they hope to gain from serving on the SAC.

Become a Change Agent with the AAUW MI SAC!

Members, STEM and the Paradigm Shift


Three AAUW members were seated in a San Diego sauna. The Baby Boomer was sixty-nine years old. The Millennial member had just turned thirty, and the Generation Z member, a recent graduate was twenty-one.

A beep sounded. The Millennial pressed her forearm and the beep ceased.
“That was my pager. I have a microchip under the skin of my arm,” she explained.

Four minutes later, a phone rang. The Generation Z member lifted her hand to her ear and spoke. After disconnecting, she explained that she had had a microchip implanted into the back of her hand.

The Baby Boomer, feeling hopelessly low-tech but looking determined nonetheless,  left the sauna for the bathroom. When she returned to the sauna, toilet paper was dangling from her cheeks.

Upon seeing her, the Millennial and Generation Z members raised their brows and looked amused.

The Baby Boomer twisted around, looked down and declared, “Well, will you look at that! I’m getting a fax!”