The anti-union attacks continue -- bills attacking dues deduction, retirement introduced

In addition to Senate Bills 618-624, which would increase the number of charter schools, privatize teachers and allow for back-door school vouchers, both chambers have introduced legislation that would prohibit school districts from automatically deducting union dues from members' paychecks.

SB 636 and HB 4929 only apply to public school union members. In June, the state Supreme Court banned automatic payroll deduction for donations to union political action committees. The Republicans have gone one step further with these new attacks.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive), one of the bill's sponsors, claims this is to ensure people are aware that dues are coming out of their paycheck and questioning how much value they're getting for their dues dollars.

But the bills are really just more examples of anti-union attacks which do nothing to improve education or create jobs. MEA opposes SB 636 and HB 4929.

The Senate also introduced SB 593 which amends the Public School Employees Retirement Act so that all new members hired on or after July 31, 2011 would become members of a Tier 3 defined contribution plan. If you were an employee and member of MPSERS before that date, you would have three options available: staying in your current defined benefit plan in Tier 1; moving to a hybrid plan--Pension Plus in Tier 2; or electing to move to Tier 3. Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) is sponsor of the bill. MEA experts are analyzing the details of the bill and will have more information next week.

MEA opposes all these bills and will vigorously fight back against these attacks on public education and the middle class.

Fight back--but use caution

Right now, our best defense against all of this anti-public education, anti-public school employee legislation is a phone call or email from you letting legislators know that you are fed up with these attacks. Be sure that you don't use work time or school equipment to voice your opinion. Make it a priority when you get home!