Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stupidity In Action

How stupid can the Michigan Senate be?  When SB 1040 was written (and co-sponsored by Sen. Howard Walker),  one of the provisions in the bill stated that in order for teachers to avoid all the changes that would take place in the current pension program, they would have to retire by May 31st of this year!  The politicians did not realize that the school year for most districts doesn't end until June.  That would put schools in chaos with teachers retiring before the end of the school year.  Oops!  When MEA a lobbyists pointed that out to the Senate, they quickly came up with an amendment to the original bill to move the retirement date to July 1st.  This goes to show how little these guys know about education and schools in general.  If it wasn't such a serious issue, it would be comical.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Protect Our Jobs

Protect Our Jobs. That is the name of the petition drive to place a constitutional amendment prohibiting Right to Work laws in Michigan on the November ballot.

We need your help. BCEA will need a member in each building to help distribute petitions, collect completed petitions, and encourage members to gather signatures. Executive Council cannot do it all. We need everyone to step up.
There will be a Protect Our Jobs organizational meeting Wednesday, April 11, 5-7pm at NCMC library conference room. Call 347-6271 (MEA Petoskey office) to say you will attend.

Senator Howard Walker Attacks Your Retirement

Provided courtesy of
Emphasis placed is mine. Sen. Howard Walker is a co-sponsor of the bill.

The latest legislative assault on retirement was launched on Thursday, March 29 in the form of Senate Bill 1040. The bill makes sweeping changes to limit the pension benefits received by employees while increasing the out-of-pocket costs for both active and retired members.

MEA is conducting further analysis of SB 1040, but it is clear that this bill dismantles the retirement security of thousands of Michigan school employees and their families. MEA recently joined the Coalition for Secure Retirement and will be working through that coalition to fight against these destructive bills.

Key provisions of SB 1040 include:

  • Increased contribution rates (to 5% for Basic or 8% for MIP, PLUS the additional 3% for retirement health) to retain the current multiplier of 1.5% for future years of service in the calculation of a pension.
  • Employees choosing to not pay the higher contribution rates would either have to freeze their defined benefit accrual and shift to a 401(k) style plan with a 4% employer contribution OR have the multiplier for any future service lowered to 1.25%.
  • Retroactively impose the graded premium subsidy program on all active employees (rather than only those hired after July 1, 2008).
  • Cap the premium payment for retirement health benefits at 80% for active AND retired members -- effectively doubling the premium payment for many current retirees.
  • Eliminate retirement health benefits for all future hires, replacing it with an employer-matched health savings account, and cap final average compensation at $100,000 for new employees.
For a full rundown of SB 1040's impacts on current employees and retirees, view CSR's Action Alert.

SB 1040's sponsor, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw), and other Republican leaders indicate that this proposal will be moving through both chambers alongside the upcoming state budget process in April and May. Call your state Senator today and urge him or her to oppose this assault on the retirement of Michigan's dedicated school employees. Current employees should not have to pay even higher out-of-pocket costs to keep the benefits that have been promised to them. And retirees cannot afford for their health insurance premiums to increase, especially in light of the state's new pension tax.

We're Not Going To Take It Any More

Question:  How many anti-teacher/education laws have been passed by the Republicans and signed by Governor Rick "I'm not against unions/teachers/public education/etc." Synder, the past two years?
Answer:  11

How many bills are pending attacking teachers, public education, the middle class, and workers in general?
Answer:  19 and counting

Need  a little inspiration?  Watch the clip below.

A one-line summary of each law/bill is listed below.

Republican Attacks -
A Look Back and a Look Ahead

With the sheer number of attacks from Legislative Republicans since February 2011, it’s helpful to lay out a few highlights in one document. It should be noted that this is NOT an exhaustive list of the bills. To view the complete list visit our Bill Tracker at

What Has Passed

PA 4 – 3/17/2011
This Act requires schools to fall under the newly defined and expanded use of Emergency Financial Managers to include ability to unilaterally terminate or amend contracts, dissolve elected boards, etc.

PA 42 – 5/26/2011
This Act eliminates tax exemptions for public school employee pensions.

PA 54 – 6/8/2011
This Act freezes wages after a contract expires, passes health care cost increases on to employees and bans retroactive bargaining.

PA 62 – 6/21/2011
This Act cuts education funding $1 Billion.

PA 101 – 7/19/2011
This Act ties completion of probation to student test scores, allows summary discharge of probationary teachers; allows taking away tenure and prohibits bargaining over evaluation.

PA 100 – 7/19/2011
This Act allows for unpaid suspensions, removes “reasonable and just cause” as the standard for discharge; holds that 2 “ineffective” evaluations is proof of ineffective teaching; stops pay for tenured teachers 90 days after an appeal is filed.

PA 102 – 7/19/2011
This Act amends the school code and prohibits bargaining over evaluation and lay-off standards; prohibits seniority as a factor in assignments including lay-off/recall situation; sets forth evaluation criteria, including student test scores as a major factor; and establishes the “Governor's Council on Educator Effectiveness” to develop statewide evaluation criteria.

PA 103- 7/19/2011
This Act amends PERA and makes the following prohibited subjects of bargaining: policies and standards for reductions in force; content and standards for evaluation; procedures regarding discipline or discharge; decisions how merit pay might be awarded; decisions about classroom observations and placement in innovation programs.

PA 152 – 9/27/2011
Requires public employees to pay 20% of their health insurance or a “hard cap.”

PA 277 – 12/20/2011 (Effective 3/27/12 – Immediate Effect withheld)
Eliminates cap on charter schools with no oversight or accountability.

PA 53 – 3/16/2012
Prohibits using payroll deduction for union dues. Applies to school district employees only.

What Is Still Out There

HB 4306 – Pending on House Floor
Requires school districts to solicit bids to outsource certain support services.

SB 729 – Pending in Committee
“Right to Work for Less” for MEA members only.

Senate Joint Resolution B – Pending in Committee
Calls for salary reduction and temporary pay freeze for public employees.

HB 4140 – Pending in Committee
Allows for statewide public employee health care plan.

SB 593 – Pending in Committee
Creates a defined contribution retirement plan for all school employees hired after 7/1/2011.

HB 4420 – Pending in Committee
Removes community colleges from the MPSERS retirement system.

HB 4052 – Pending on the House floor
Ban use of taxpayer funded equipment and facilities for union or political activities.

HB 4059 – Passed House, Pending in Senate Committee
Prohibits public employer contracts that pay union officials for conducting union business.

HB 4466 – Pending on House Floor
Changes provisions concerning striking public employees (increased fines, group rather than individual fines).

HB 5023 – Pending in Committee
Expands the list of employees subject to penalties for striking.

HB 5024 – Pending in Committee
Prohibits mass picketing and sets fines on individuals and unions for violations

HB 5025 – Pending in Committee
Requires annual authorization by employees to have union dues deducted from their paychecks by the employers.

HB 5026 – Pending in Committee
Repeals the prohibition against advertising for strikebreakers (scabs).

SB 619 – Passed the Senate, pending on House Floor
Removes all controls and caps on cyber schools.

SB 620 – Pending on the Senate floor.
Creates “conversion charter schools.”

SB 621 – Passed the Senate, pending in House Committee
Expands list of schools that can provide service to students in private schools and receive state aid.

SB 622\SB 623 – Passed the Senate, pending in House Committee
Removes all limits on ability of students to attend college level courses while in high school

SB 624 – Pending in Senate Committee
Bill mandates schools of choice.

SB 1040 – Pending in Senate Committee
Comprehensive cuts to school employee pension and retiree health. Impacts all future, current and retired school employees.