MEA responds to legislative attacks

Next big Lansing protest is Saturday

Several dozen MEA members, leaders, and staff were at the Capitol today to talk with legislators about votes this week affecting public employee wages and health care.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed House Bill 4152 (to freeze step wage increases when a contract expires) and Senate Bill 7 (to require public employees to pay at least 20 percent of the cost of their health insurance) and the House Education Committee approved bills to dismantle tenure and collective bargaining laws. Those votes compelled the educators to visit Lansing -- to hold accountable the lawmakers who supported these measures, and to thank those who did not.

"Not everybody could make it here today," said Scott Wilsey, a teacher in the Van Buren school district, who was lobbying at the Capitol for the first time. "I felt it was important that somebody from my school was here. . . we're tired of being the punching bags. We want to be part of the process."

Susan Duda-Osborne, another Van Buren teacher, thanked Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, for rejecting House Bill 4152 and Senate Bill 7.

In a press statement, MEA President Iris K. Salters described the votes as "yet another assault on public education and the middle class."

After the votes Wednesday, MEA's Facebook page was flooded with comments.

Local association presidents are planning local events, including informational picketing and other public outreach. Contact your local union president to find out about activities in your area.

The next opportunity to protest en masse at the Capitol is Saturday during MEA Action Day.

MEA Action Day begins at 1 p.m. at MEA headquarters in East Lansing. Join MEA members, family, and friends for a picnic lunch, entertainment for kids and adults, and opportunities to fight back against the legislative attacks.

At 4 p.m., we'll join thousands of others for a rally at the Capitol in Lansing. We’ll protest the power struggles and collectively ask lawmakers to protect our schools and start working together to create jobs.