MEA Action Day draws thousands to Lansing

Responding to ongoing attacks on public education and the middle class, thousands of MEA members traveled to Lansing on Saturday for MEA Action Day.

Toting hand-made signs with messages such as “I make Michigan work,” “Merit pay for politicians first,” and “My students listen better than my governor,” teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and social workers joined thousands of other union members at the Capitol to protest. Media reports estimated the crowd topped 10,000, making it the biggest rally yet this spring.

Earlier that day, about 2,000 members and their families attended a picnic at MEA’s East Lansing headquarters, where hundreds registered to help fight budget cuts and legislation that would hurt students and communities.

Check out a slideshow of photos from the events.

Saturday’s rally isn’t the last opportunity you’ll have to get involved – talk with your local association president to find out if any local events are planned. MEA members and local leaders will be at the Capitol Tuesday to lobby legislators – and you can help now by contacting your representative and senator. Ask him/her to stand up for public education and to protect your students, your school, and your community!

Lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on the 2011-12 budgets for K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities this week – tell your legislators how these cuts will hurt constituents! 

You also could talk with your legislators about other bills on tap this week:

  • On Tuesday, the House Oversight, Reform, and Ethics Committee will hear testimony on legislation dealing with public employee health care – Senate Bill 7 and Senate Joint Resolution C, which the Senate approved last week, and House Bill 4572. Senate Bill 7 would require public employees to pay 20 percent of the cost of their health care. House Bill 4572 would cap how much public employers can pay for employee health insurance ($5,000 for individual coverage, $10,000 for two-person coverage, or $13,000 for family coverage). MEA opposes these bills – local school districts should have the power to decide through collective bargaining how much employees pay for insurance.
  • The full House could vote as early as Tuesday on a four-bill package to dismantle tenure and collective bargaining. The bills – House Bills 4625, 4626, 4627, and 4626 – were approved by the House Education Committee last week. Contact your representative to urge him/her to vote NO on these bills.
  • The House Education Committee will listen to a presentation Wednesday from Bill Rustem, director of strategic policy for Gov. Rick Snyder, whose recent education address called for major changes. MEA proposed a comprehensive plan for education reform – tell your legislator to take a look at our A+ Agenda for research-based, proven strategies for improving public schools.