Delegates to MEA’s Representative Assembly met virtually on Saturday to finish the business of the association’s annual meeting, adopting changes to MEA dues, staffing policy and other business introduced when the meeting first convened in April.
In an effort to reduce dues for members who earned less and hopefully increase membership, the RA adopted different dues percentages by salary bracket, effectively reducing dues for everyone making less than $46,406. The new percentages, brackets and maximums are as follows:
|Salary/Wages Range||Dues for That Range||Total Dues Shall Not Exceed|
|$0 – $10,000||1.10%||$110.00|
|$10,000.01 – $20,000||1.30%||$240.00|
|$20,000.01 – $35,000||1.55%||$472.50|
|$35,000.01 – $46,406||1.60%||$655.00|
|$46,406+||Dues shall be $655.00
(the 2020-21 dues cap already approved at the 2019 RA)
Changes were also adopted to MEA’s Continuous Staffing Policy, which is designed to set the size of the UniServ field staff based on dues-paying membership. Aside from the current practice of looking at membership counts in service areas of the state before making permanent staff postings, the amended policy now includes looking at the statewide total as well to ensure MEA’s field staffing maintains a ratio of no less than 1,200 members for every UniServ director, plus taking into account “sparsity” numbers in more remote areas of the state with smaller districts.Both items were adopted after a year of work by member committees tasked by the 2019 RA to look at these key issues.
In other business, delegates approved a new business item that called for making member PAC contribution reports more readily available to local leaders. An item that would have reduced the number of members small locals need to qualify for their own RA delegate (as opposed to being represented by “cluster” delegates representing groups of small locals) was referred to committee. A proposal to pass along credit card fees for dues payments to individual members was defeated.
Items of business for this RA needed to be submitted by 6 p.m. on April 16, the first day of the RA held to conduct elections required by MEA’s constitution and bylaws. A motion to suspend the rules to take up new business, including reopening of schools, did not garner the necessary votes to proceed — the MEA Board of Directors has an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening to further discuss the issue.
Election results were announced from April’s meeting, including the election of: Jenni Lamb for NEA Director (full three-year term); Robyn O’Keefe (term through 8/31/22); Heather Schulz for Alternate NEA Director; and Robert Gaines & Rick Jackson for the Local Affiliates Commission. MEA’s officers – President Paula Herbart, Vice President Chandra Madafferi and Secretary-Treasurer Brett Smith – were elected by acclamation in April after running unopposed.
This marked the first RA held since the death of former MEA President Steven Cook. A tribute video — featuring a rendition of “Solidarity Forever” by NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia — was shown to delegates in honor of Cook’s 26-year tenure as an MEA officer (which continues to be a record among NEA state affiliates). Cook, a Lansing paraprofessional and the first education support professional elected president of the MEA, passed away in May after a battle with cancer.