Mary Ellen Riordan Papers

Accession Number: 
64.5 linear feet (4 MB, 58 SB, 5 OS)

Mary Ellen Riordan (1920-2010) was president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers from 1960-1981. In 1965, teachers and the school board signed their first contract, only the third teacher contract in the country. Riordan also guided the Detroit Federation of Teachers
through three strikes, the Detroit Public Schools desegregation case Bradley v. Milliken, and agency fee case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. In addition to her work with DFT, she served on the AFT Executive Council as Vice-President, the AFT Executive Committee, and on the boards of many state and local organizations. The Mary Ellen Riordan Papers contain correspondence, meeting minutes, notes, reports, newsletters, clippings, court documents and legal briefs, contracts, pamphlets, lesson plans, 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; teaching materials from the 1930s through post-World War II in the subjects of math, science, and home economics; and teacher retirement.

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