DETROIT (WWJ) – For the first time in more than 30 years, The American Federation of Teachers is holding its a convention in Detroit.

Officials estimated 3,000 delegates would attend at the 2012 event at Cobo Center.

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On Friday, AFT President Randi Weingarten spoke to the crowd, saying she plans to meet with the Detroit’s Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts to negotiate helping Detroit reach a comeback.

“Providing every child in the city with an education is the key to its comeback,” Weingarten said. “Yet the recent actions of the Emergency Manager Roy Roberts have made this impossible.”

She said the big thing facing the union — and public education — is union busting and anti-collective bargaining efforts across the country; privatization, whether by hedge funds or big business investers; and Mitt Romney.

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She also drew applause when she announced there would be no increase in union dues this year. “Just like you,” she said, “the AFT will have to do more with less.”

Weingarten also announced a new web-based resource,, for teachers, which will be unveiled Saturday.

“The strength of is that it is teachers helping teachers, matching teachers’ needs with teachers’ expertise,” she said. “It is by teachers, for teachers and for free.”

The convention will continue throughout the weekend.

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AFT 2012 attendees fill Macomb Hall at Cobo Convention Center. (WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)