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Proposed Michigan Law Would Blackmail Union Teachers

April 20, 2011

Michigan’s new public servant, I mean public employee laws for union workers are extreme. Take part in a strike and you are out of work for two years. Pure blackmail. These legislators need a crash course in ethics.

Chicago Tribune reports: LANSING, Mich. – Teachers would face tougher penalties for taking part in illegal strikes under legislation debated Wednesday by Michigan lawmakers.

Proposals pending in the House Education Committee call for suspending teachers’ licenses for at least two years if they participate in an illegal strike. Licenses could be permanently revoked in some cases.

Republicans say it would provide a stronger deterrent in Michigan law that already makes teacher strikes illegal. Lawmakers say that participants in some strikes have gone virtually unpunished when handled at the local level, so they want a state law that mandates repercussions.

“You have to put teeth into something to allow the system to work,” said Rep. Bill Rogers, a Republican from Brighton and one of the legislation’s sponsors.

Democrats say the measures are too punitive and unfairly single out teachers as opposed to other public employees. Opponents of the legislation also say current law appears to be effective, since strikes are rare and the last teacher walkout came in 2008 at Wayne-Westland Community Schools.

The House hearing comes as the Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, seeks approval from its members to “initiate crisis activities” up to and including a strike. Republican lawmakers consider it a strike threat.

Union leaders are upset about proposals they say undermine collective bargaining rights and proposed funding cuts to Michigan schools.

Doug Pratt, an MEA spokesman, said the strike penalty legislation is part of a broader effort “designed to scare people into being quiet” and make union members accept proposals they oppose.

“This is yet another example of lawmakers trying to silence the voices of school employees in this state, who oppose massive education cuts and other attacks on schools and kids that these lawmakers are pushing,” Pratt said.

Source: Chicago Tribune – click here


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