House and Senate pass versions of ‘right-to-work’; adjourn until Tuesday

Following this morning’s announcement by Gov. Snyder and Republican legislative leaders about their support of so-called “right-to-work” legislation, the state House and Senate took swift action in passing bills implementing the deceptive, flawed concept for both public and private sector workers.

Both chambers amended existing bills to include language allowing workers to choose not to pay their fair share of the costs of negotiating their contract. The bills legalize freeloading, which pits workers against one another and gives corporate special interests an even greater advantage in being able to cut wages and benefits.

In the House, HB 4054 was amended and passed by a vote of 58-52 to implement “right-to-work” for private sector workers.  Six Republicans (Forlini, Goike, Horn, McBroom, Sommerville and Zorn) voted no along with all Democrats.

On the Senate side, both public and private sector workers were attacked -- SB 116 and HB 4003 were passed with 22 Republican votes each, with four Republicans (Rocca, Casperson, Nofs and Green) voting no. Senate Democrats all voted against SB 116 -- all 12 chose not to vote on HB 4003 in protest. Local police and fire employees, as well as state police, were exempted.

Call NOW to protect your rights -- before it's too late!

Governor Snyder and Republican legislative leadership said in a press conference this morning that they intend to push so-called "right-to-work" legislation TODAY.

All MEA members need to call their state representative, state senator and Governor Snyder immediately.

Urge them to stop this assault on workers and their families. Tell them that this law will do nothing to create jobs and put Michigan back to work -- it will only create the divisive political climate that we saw in Wisconsin and Ohio.

Particular bills are still being developed, but the intent is clearly to move swiftly with this attack. The Legislature just announced they plan to stay in Lansing all weekend to work on this divisive agenda -- avoiding returning home to face their constituents.

Whether they call it "right-to-work" or "freedom-to-work", this law simply isn’t about working, creating jobs or helping the economy. The only thing it does is allow for individuals to choose not to pay their fair share in the cost of negotiating the contract they benefit from. It divides workers and allows corporate special interests to take more money out of the pockets of every worker -- union or non-union -- hurting the economic future of our families and our state.

Tell your state representative, state senator and Governor Snyder to stop putting the priorities of their corporate special interests ahead of our middle class. Tell them to stop this attack on your rights before they tear Michigan apart.


'Right-to-work' bill could be introduced today -- come to the Capitol to help stop it!

MEA members, retirees and staff are being urged to come to Lansing tomorrow, Dec. 6, to join other citizen lobbyists in urging lawmakers to vote NO on so-called "right-to-work" legislation, which sources say could be introduced as early as 4 p.m. today.

Regardless of whether you can make it tomorrow, please call your lawmakers today and urge them to vote NO on right-to-work. Click here to find contact information for your legislators and call them immediately!

Citizen lobbyists will rendezvous tomorrow morning at UAW Local 724, 450 Clare St. in Lansing, at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., as well as at the Michigan AFL-CIO, 419 S. Washington Square in Lansing, at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Upon arrival at either location, volunteers will receive training and materials before proceeding to the Capitol building. Please RSVP to come to Lansing tomorrow by clicking here.

Legislature considering school voucher bills during lame duck

In the final weeks of the legislative session, state lawmakers are considering bills that would strip away local communities’ ability to guide education policy, by creating a statewide "takeover district."

Legislators 'extremely confused' about proposed state takeover district

Members of the state House Education Committee were "extremely confused" about legislation to create a statewide takeover district during a committee hearing Monday, according to the Gongwer News Service -- another sign that they should not attempt to pass such radical school overhauls in the lame duck session.

The panel was hearing testimony on House Bill 6004, which would expand the authority of the interlocal agreement between Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University that created the Education Achievement Authority.

The legislation would expand the EAA to the entire state, allowing it to absorb schools deemed by arbitrary and flawed ratings to be in the bottom 5 percent.

Legislature poised to jam through bills to create statewide takeover district

Legislation that would eliminate a local community's ability to guide education policy by creating a statewide "takeover district" appears to be headed for quick action in the Legislature after the Thanksgiving holiday.

House Bills 5923 and 6004 expand the authority of the interlocal agreement between Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University that created the Education Achievement Authority, a virtual school district. The legislation would expand the EAA's current reach from Detroit to the entire state, allowing Lansing bureaucrats to assume many of responsibilities currently entrusted to local school board members, parents and educators.

This statewide takeover district would oversee schools deemed by arbitrary and flawed ratings to be in the bottom 5 percent. Creating a cold, impersonal statewide school district would eliminate time-honored "neighborhood schools," further eroding the public school system.

Message from MEA President Steve Cook about Election 2012 results


Dear MEA members,
There's no way to sugar-coat last night's loss on Proposal 2 enough to make it easy to swallow. But I will preface my comments with this -- I have never seen this organization so engaged and united. And I've never been more proud of our Association than I have been these past few months. We organized thousands of members to volunteer throughout this campaign, and that organizing will not be in vain so long as we keep our members engaged in the fight for our schools and our rights. I can only say thank you, but it doesn't seem like enough.
The failure to pass Proposal 2 is a bitter disappointment felt not only by you and me, but the other Protect Working Families coalition members as well. Suffice to say, the coalition simply was not able to overcome being outspent by corporate special interests who did everything they could to convince voters that Proposal 2 was about everything but collective bargaining. 
But the battle to protect collective bargaining is not over--it's never over.


VOTE TUESDAY - Be informed; the decisions are up to you

What’s your voting plan for tomorrow? Do you know where you vote? Will you vote before or after work? Do you have plans for child care or are you taking your children with you? Will you have a copy of MEA’s recommended candidates with you? Are you allowing yourself enough time to read and mark the entire ballot?

We’re all busy, but having a plan to vote means you’ll be more likely to actually go to the polls and cast your ballot. Be an informed voter. Take a voter guide with you to make sure you know which candidates and which ballot proposals support working families. Using a guide will also save you time.

The Michigan League of Responsible Voters is dedicated to educating voters with the most updated election information. On their website, www.leagueofresponsiblevoters.org, you can download a practical guide to the ballot proposals that provides background information on each proposal, explains what each proposal does, lists those groups both supporting and opposing the proposal, and the League’s recommendations.

For a listing of MEA recommendations for federal, state and local races and to find your polling location, log in to the Members Only area

We’ve said for months this election is critical -- who gets elected matters and the decisions are all up to you. Vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6!

PTA responds to 'below the belt' attack by Proposal 2 opponents

The Michigan PTA is slamming back against accusations that it violated its tax-exempt status when it endorsed Proposal 2 to protect collective bargaining and the voices of working families.

MPSERS election window still open

If you've already selected your retirement options with the Office of Retirement (ORS), you can make changes to your elections, according to the ORS website today. The election period deadline for MPSERS members to make their retirement choices came and went at 5 p.m. last Friday. The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued against the state and its enforcement of the Oct. 26 deadline remains in effect until the Supreme Court acts on the Attorney General's Emergency Motion for Stay.

The Court will have to issue a new deadline and that could come at any time. There may be no advance warning, so be prepared. If you've already made your choices, you can log in to your miAccount to review them. If you're still deciding, go to the ORS website to learn more about the options. Seek advice from your financial planner. If you don't have one, contact MEA Financial Services (800-292-1950) for advice about the best option for you. Once you're sure of your choices, make your retirement elections.

Go to www.mea.org/retirement to keep updated on the latest news and information.