Newsroom

Latest news releases and President's column.

MEA President Steven Cook: NRA proposal to arm school employees is ‘dangerous and reckless’

EAST LANSING, Mich., April 4, 2013 — MEA President Steven Cook issued the following statement Thursday in response to the National Rifle Association’s new report that recommends school employees receive firearms training and carry guns in schools:

“The National Rifle Association this week issued a report that recommends arming school employees as a way to prevent gun violence — a dangerous and reckless move that would place an undue burden on teachers and education support staff.

Judge orders Ferris State board to explain why it voted against its own contract proposal

BIG RAPIDS, Mich., March 21, 2013 — A state administrative law judge has ordered the Ferris State University Board of Trustees to explain why it voted to reject its own contract proposal with the Ferris Faculty Association, which represents employees at the university.

MEA supports Schor bill closing dangerous loophole in Michigan’s gun law

MEA President Steve Cook (right) addresses media at the state Capitol on March 14 about the MEA’s support for House Bill 4104, which would close a dangerous loophole that allows concealed pistol license holders to openly carry firearms in Michigan schools. With Cook is the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing.

The Michigan Education Association endorsed legislation Thursday that would close a dangerous loophole in Michigan’s gun law that allows a concealed weapons license holder to openly carry a gun in gun-free zones such as schools.

Ferris State accused of unfair labor practices after turning down their own contract offer

The Ferris Faculty Association has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission asserting the university’s Board of Trustees violated state labor law when it recently failed to pass a five-year contract.

MEA President rebuts criticism about perfectly legal contract extensions

EAST LANSING, Mich., Feb. 26, 2013 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook. It is in response to political criticism levied against teachers and education support professionals for negotiating long-term contract extensions in advance of the March 27 implementation of Michigan’s so-called “right-to-work” law:

“One month from tomorrow, a new Michigan law will take effect making it illegal to negotiate contracts that include fair-share terms requiring employees covered by that contract to either be a union member or pay their fair share of the cost of negotiating and maintaining that contract. Any contract in place by that date is legal and binding under state law.

Pontiac students and educators benefit from generous school supply donations

Pontiac Education Association member and Whitman Elementary School teacher Linda Puas said of the supply drive and Saturday’s event, “This is so sad and yet so heartwarming. You really feel ‘not alone’.”

MEA organized supply drive in response to supply shortages caused by education funding cuts

PONTIAC, Mich., Feb. 16, 2013 — On Saturday, MEA members from across Michigan stepped up to help the students and educators of the Pontiac School District. In response to a critical school supply shortage caused by education funding cuts, MEA coordinated the donation and delivery of more than $12,000 in cash and gift cards, as well as thousands of dollars more in school supplies.

A truckload of these donated supplies was distributed to Pontiac Education Association members on Saturday at UAW Local 653 in Pontiac. Donations came from MEA teachers and support staff from around the state, as well as other allies such as the United Auto Workers and even contributions from other public school students, like the student council of Utica’s Flickinger Elementary.

The massive underfunding of public education by Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Legislature has created an untenable crisis for educators and students in Pontiac.  Last year, MEA members conducted a similar supply drive for teachers and students in the Benton Harbor Area Schools.

MEA and others file lawsuit to invalidate illegal ‘right-to-work’ law

EAST LANSING, Mich., Feb. 1, 2013 — Michigan’s new “right-to-work” law should be overturned because the state Legislature violated state and federal open government laws when passing it, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the Michigan Education Association and others in Ingham County Circuit Court.

Without a single public hearing, the state House and Senate passed legislation on the afternoon of Dec. 6 to make Michigan a right-to-work state. Simultaneously that afternoon, state police barred citizens from entering the Capitol, despite state law that requires the Capitol to remain open when the Legislature is in session. In addition, partisan legislative staffers were also ordered to fill the public galleries in the House and Senate to stop regular citizens from observing the votes.

According to the lawsuit, Michigan lawmakers violated the Michigan Open Meetings Act, the state Constitution and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"By allowing state police to block citizens from entering the Capitol, Lansing politicians not only violated the basic American principles of open and transparent government, they also violated specific state and federal laws designed to protect the rights of citizens," MEA President Steven Cook said. "We're confident the courts will agree that the Legislature's actions on the afternoon of Dec. 6 constituted a clear violation of the Open Meetings Act and should be invalidated."

Statement from MEA President Steve Cook on Gov. Snyder’s State of the State address

EAST LANSING, Mich., Jan. 16, 2013 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook, in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address:

 “Governor Snyder claims he wants to build bridges, but he’s already burned them to the ground.

Critical list

 EAST LANSING, Mich.,  December 18, 2012

Conn. school shooting tragedy reinforces need for real discussions on student, employee safety

EAST LANSING, Mich., Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steve Cook in response to today's school shooting in Connecticut and the need for greater focus on student and school employee safety:

"More than 30 times since Columbine, unconscionable acts of gun violence in American schools have either ended or forever changed the lives of students and school employees. Speaking for MEA's 150,000 members, all our condolences go out to the victims and their families, as well as the entire community of Newton, as they deal with the senseless deaths of these children and educators. 

"Regardless of what the details and facts are of today's events in Connecticut, this nation must have a real conversation about guns and the safety of our students and those who care for them.

"I am a gun owner and avid outdoorsman, but something must be done to protect our children from such acts of violence.  Entire school communities -- boards, administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and students -- need to be partners in discussions to ensure our school buildings are safe and protected from these kinds of crimes, using the latest in technology and building design to secure buildings and classrooms from those who would bring harm to students, whether armed or not.

"But we need REAL solutions. Just yesterday, the Michigan Legislature passed SB 59, which allows for concealed firearms in our schools. Those who think that students and teachers will be safer with MORE guns in our schools are just plain wrong.  Thinking that teachers should carry weapons and fire on threats is a recipe for even more death -- not safety. I hope Governor Snyder understands this and vetoes SB 59, not only for the safety of our children but out of respect for those who died today in Connecticut. To sign this bill in light of this tragedy would be unfathomable."

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