Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Michigan Gearing Up to Fire All Teachers

The Michigan Education Association has been quietly holding votes on a resolution to authorize a series of job actions including informational picketing, contacting representatives and a state-wide work stoppage, according to Naked Empire reports that MEA President Iris Salters sent out a letter requesting locals to delay major purchases and to start saving enough to have reserves for at least two months.  The resolution is in response to funding cuts of $715 per student and the financial martial law bill that would allow the governor to shred teacher contracts and place districts under the control of CEOs.

Teacher strikes are illegal under Michigan law. Public Act 112, enacted in 1994, stipulates that teachers be fined a day’s pay for each day they refuse to work. However, state representative Paul Scott has introduced additional legislation that would fine the union if it were to go on strike and potentially strip teachers of their credentials. The latter, of course, is a moronic threat since, if it were carried out, Michigan would have virtually no qualified teachers left. Nevertheless, Michigan Radio reports that House Bill 4465 would suspend teachers’ credentials for two years or permanently revoke their credentials if caught striking. House Bill 4466 would raise the fine to $5,000 per day for each day they refuse to work.

As usual, politicians and business leaders are livid that the union would consider thumbing its nose at their stupid no-strike law and are crying about how much a work stoppage would harm Michigan’s children. Some bloggers and pundits are even calling them thugs, as if they were physically assaulting kids and families. Yet it is apparently quite harmless to kids when they cut school funding by hundreds of dollars per student and strip schools of sufficient funding for nurses, librarians, counselors and small class sizes.


  1. "Sufficient funding for nurses, librarians, counselors and small class sizes"? Those went out many years ago, and I'm in a well-to-do suburban district. The school aid fund is running a huge surplus, and Michigan schools collectively own over $700 million in rainy-day funds. The state has been riding high on federal stimulus money for education for the past two years, so where is the "crisis" in education? Rick Snyder wants to create crisis to justify sending in his emergency managers, who can then tear up union contracts, an indirect attack on the Democratic Party. It's a thinly veiled use of local schools, public servants, and kids for political gain. What a shame this has to be happening in a once honorable state, but that's what you get for electing someone you know nothing about, with no political record behind him. Large numbers of people who voted for Snyder in November are having buyer's remorse, making a recall highly likely. Pray for it's success.

  2. Teachers are the new Jews. I said that when I was a teacher, taking the blame from parents, politicians, and whoever else wanted to pile it on, because they do not understand that an educated electorate is a free electorate, or they do, and they don't want a free electorate, they wanted desperate, ignorant impoverished wage slaves. Global Business has moved its Consumer Nation to China and India, and we now are going to produce parts and labor for them at 23 cents an hour, which is what prisoners in privatized prisons are doing now for Boeing. In what country you say? Yes, the U.S.A. Welcome to the future. Didn't want to trust Democrats, eh? Well this is where Libertarianism, Objectivism, and Tea Partying gets you: you have lost the Democracy the Founding Fathers so urgently warned you to be vigilant in order to keep it. If you are ruled by fear and hate, the Republicans and Corporatists can use you. Right now, you can earn $120/min. if you call Left Wing Progressive Radio Shows and broadcast the Randian Talking Points, which are: Selfish is good, Greed is good, and Democracy is Mob Rule: all paid for by the Koch Brothers, who fund the right wing Heritage Foundation and the Tea Party. Your choice.

  3. where are the labor lawyers in this assault on unions? Why not help from the feds?

  4. Labor lawyers are working for the unions which, for the most part, are figuring out how to protest in the safest and least effective manner possible.

    The feds? Where were they for Katrina?

    Better question: Why aren't working people rising up in general strikes across the country?

  5. A couple of comments on the "New Jews" post:

    (1) Teachers are not going to be exterminated.
    (2) Indian and China are still producing more junk for us to purchase than the other way around.
    (3) The founding fathers never envisioned a society in which the working class had any rights or power.

    Other than that, I agree with the sentiments that teachers are being scapegoated, working people are being squeezed, and we live in scary times.