Candidate for President of AAUP-AFT 6075


Join me on Zoom at

  • Saturday, April 10, 10:30am-12pm
    What A Participatory Approach Means to the Union
  • Thursday, April 15, 4pm-5.30pm
    Why We Need New Leadership: The Times Is Now
  • Saturday, April 24, 10:30am-12pm
    Why Transparency Matters In the Union
  • Tuesday, April 27, 4pm-5.30pm
    Plans for Change

We are at a pivotal moment in public higher education and at Wayne State. We must reinvigorate our Union to face the new challenges posed by the pandemic. We need:

  • A more participatory, activist, and transparent Union.
  • Protection of job security across all ranks and positions, especially for non-tenure/non-ESS workers.
  • Resistance to increasing workloads.
  • Gender and racial pay equity.
  • Support for racial, social and economic justice at Wayne State and Metro Detroit.

As your union president I will:

  • Be a fierce advocate for your collective bargaining rights.
  • Utilize fair, equitable and inclusive leadership practices.
  • Promote a respectful and collaborative space for all members to fully engage and participate.
  • Ensure greater transparency with open channels of communication.
  • Proactively campaign around shared issues.
  • Expand protections for Black and Brown, LGBTQ+, non-binary, otherly abled, and women staff, faculty and students.
  • Support diversity initiatives and address bias, discrimination, bullying and harrassment.
  • Strengthen all worker rights through the Coalition of Unions.
  • Promote solidarity and engagement with community groups and activists in common struggles.

My first steps will be to:

  • Support the bargaining team during negotiations to get the best possible contract.
  • Meet with and listen to Executive Board members, Council Reps, existing committees to understand our organizational needs and priorities.
  • Consult with individuals across all units to better assess where there are crises, shared concerns.
  • Develop basic internal education for new members about what the Union is and how to get involved.

My background

I'm an Associate Professor of Graphic Design in Art & Art History. Over the last several years I have been active with the Union: I am on the Coalition of Unions (which represents workers from 14 different unions on campus); I am a Council Representative for my department; I worked with the Communications committee to redesign our logo. In 2019 I helped organize an all-day Labor Notes workshop on campus for many Detroit area unionists, including AAUP members, part-time faculty, bus drivers, teachers, nurses, electrical workers, auto workers and more. Rashida Tlaib was a keynote speaker alongside leaders from the Chicago Teacher's Union. I also helped organize a public forum on student debt at Wayne State last year, which brought together students and educators calling for more government funding for public higher education. I have experience coordinating community, labor, and environmental activist groups in Detroit, and I was a delegate to the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

I am running for President because I believe that, moving forward, we need to develop our union into one that acts proactively, quickly and collectively. We need to get organized, and for that we need better communication and coordination.

In recent years I have seen our Union get stronger and stronger — the Executive Board members are more active, the Council of Representatives meetings regularly have forty or more members in attendance, the Lecturer Steering Committee, Academic Staff Steering Committee, MOrE, and Social Justice committees have all grown. If elected President, I would support all this organizing work to make us into a more democratic and inclusive union that is prepared to act when crises arise.

Last year we lost Wayne State pediatricians when they moved, en masse, to Central Michigan University following a breakdown in negotiations with President Roy Wilson. We should have mobilized mass actions to protect and defend the pediatricians in their fight. The loss of Pediatrics is a huge blow not only to those individuals and to the Med School, but to everyone on Main Campus, as it affects the university's standing as a Research 1 institution. Going forward, we need clear communication with the entire union membership, and we need to be prepared to mobilize collectively to support one another.

We are presently in the midst of contract negotiations. Over the spring and summer, my primary goal would be to support the work of the bargaining team: all across the university, we are seeing the administration push for more contingency by replacing tenured positions with Lecturers on short-term contracts. We need to ensure that job security for Lecturers is in the contract and that ESS and Tenure are absolutely protected.

In a few months, we will be returning to campus. We need to be leading discussions about what a hybrid campus will look like, and a guarantee that it is safe for us to be back in the classrooms teaching in person or working in our offices.

We need unequivocal advocacy for racial and social justice issues at Wayne State. AAUP should take a leading role in centering the needs of Black and Brown, LGBTQ+, non-binary, otherly abled, and women staff, faculty and students. I support recent demands made by the Black Student Union, including their demand for more funding for tenure-track faculty lines and graduate students in African-American Studies.

We need oversight of administrators. Year after year, upper-level administrators cycle in and out of the university, leaving behind a chaotic mess of layoffs, budget cuts, debts, ill-conceived consolidation plans and high-paying new administrative positions. We are the ones who pick up the pieces after they leave. While our job security is threatened, more and more of the university's budget goes toward paying the salaries of high-level administrators. We need a real say in their reappointment process. They should not be able to continue to add positions while we try to run our departments with fewer and fewer people.

We must push back against increasing workloads. Across the university, academic staff are asked to take on extra job duties, and faculty service and teaching responsibilities are going up as our colleagues retire or leave, and positions are left unfilled for years. We cannot let this upward workload creep go unchallenged.

Our unique issues may vary from unit to unit, but I believe the role of Union leadership is to help identify shared issues for us that bring us together. If elected, I will do everything I can to help us come together in solidarity to be the strong, fighting union that we need at Wayne State.


  • "I believe in Danielle's vision for the union, especially her commitment to social justice, equity and inclusion."

    Sandra Gonzales
    Associate Professor, Bilingual Education
    College of Education

  • "I have served as a Council Rep alongside Danielle for the last several years, and I am voting for her because I want to see our union become more participatory, more proactive, and more collaborative with other unions on campus. Danielle’s recent organizing experience with WSU’s Coalition of Unions and her longer history of activism in support of workers in our region makes me confident that we share the same vision for the future of our union."

    Tracy Neumann
    Associate Professor, History
    College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

  • "I am supporting Danielle because she has concrete plans for promoting union transparency, democracy, and solidarity with other unions and movements. As a rank and file AAUP member, I am excited about the new opportunities for participation in the union that her leadership can bring."

    Erin Fanning Madden
    Assistant Professor
    Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences
    School of Medicine

  • "I have been teaching at Wayne State for over two decades, run academic programs, study abroad programs, and learning communities, been involved in course design and curriculum design, engaged in community outreach, served on committees, researched, and published. I was even awarded the CLAS Teaching Award and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. Nonetheless, I work on 2-year contracts and have no job security. There are many, many such lecturers at Wayne in the same position. I believe Danielle Aubert will fight for us."

    Laura Kline
    Senior Lecturer, Russian, CMLLC
    College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • "It's time for a new leader who can bring a fresh, democratic, inclusive vision for our union and who models kindness in the midst of the tensions of union advocacy."

    Susan Gabel
    Professor, Inclusive Education
    College of Education

  • "Danielle is a dedicated and thoughtful colleague and persistently working for a more diverse and equitable workplace. What I am most excited about in having Danielle as the Union President is her commitment to transparency in the Union and her emphasis on the importance of participation and empowerment of the membership."

    Lauren Kalman
    Associate Professor, Fine Art
    College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts

  • "I’m strongly supporting Aubert's candidacy for three reasons: 1) she will work to promote transparency and respectful participatory processes within the union 2) she is sensitive to the strengths and needs of a diverse union and 3) she is a strong leader who is willing to listen. She understands that words and messaging matters! Join me in voting for Danielle!"

    Tam Perry
    Associate Professor
    School of Social Work

  • "Danielle’s candidacy gives me new hope for our Union at a time when we need it most. She represents a new participatory, inclusive, transparent, justice-seeking vision that meets the needs of our current moment."

    Thomas Pedroni
    Associate Professor
    College of Education


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