Labor, Michigan, Rick Snyder, unions — July 6, 2011 at 8:28 am

UPDATED: Michigan teachers’ union to back recall of various GOP legislators


UPDATE: As Chris Bowers from Daily Kos indicates, the MEA has not officially endorsed the recall of Rick Snyder. As you can see below, their language seems to indicate that they are but it is vague enough that a true endorsement isn’t implicit. I’ll update with more information as I get it.

Well, this should make things interesting. As first reported by, the Michigan Education Association is now officially supporting the recalls of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and several other various so-far-unnamed GOP legislators. From the MEA’s website:

Next step is recall of out-of-touch legislators
Votes by lawmakers to take collective bargaining rights from public employees and make sweeping changes to teacher tenure will fuel grassroots efforts by voters in many communities who question whether their elected leaders deserve to remain in office.

With independent recall efforts already underway in many state House districts and against Gov. Rick Snyder, MEA will now get involved in many of those voter-led initiatives.

To date, MEA has not endorsed those efforts, though many members have chosen individually to get involved.

Our elected leaders need to know that we will not sit idly by as they try to dismantle public education, destroy the middle class, and defeat MEA and other public sector unions!

MEA will also consider supporting recall efforts of some senators.

This is big and long-awaited step. No other union members are more impacted by GOP overreach in Michigan than our teachers. Their presence has been seen and felt at multiple rallies but to have the union itself officially backing the recall is momentous.

GOP Speaker of the House Jase Bolger responded with a swipe at the MEA.

A spokesman for state House Republican leader Jase Bolger says the union is waging war on forces fighting for change at the state Capitol.

“It’s not a surprise to hear the MEA is going public with its war on those who are fighting for change in Lansing,” Ari Adler says. “We have known for some time now that they’ve been working behind the scenes on recalls and it’s seems as though they wanted to go public before someone outed them.”

Outed them? I don’t think there is any question that unionized teachers have been in support of “regime change” in Michigan. I mean, heck, look at this photo I snapped from the 6,000+ rally on the steps of our Capitol recently:

See all those red shirts? Those are unionized teachers. Does that look like a group trying to hide something?

As A2Politico reported:

The MEA has money, a PR machine that is virtually unparalleled in the state, and more importantly, a 150,000 member army that union leaders are adept at mobilizing during political campaigns. The final sentence of the MEA’s July 1 statement hints at this. Imagine 25,000 volunteers with nothing but summer time on their hands collecting signatures to recall Governor Rick Snyder and 20 Republicans in the Michigan House and Senate. Suddenly, the odds of collecting the 1.1 million signatures necessary to put the question of whether to recall Snyder on the ballot become much better. With 25,000 people collecting signatures, that’s just 44 signatures per collector, starting with 100,000 signatures from MEA’s own members, as well as signatures from members of unions with which the MEA is affiliated. Can you spell AFL-CIO? That group has 627,000 Michigan members and a Labor Solidarity Partnership Agreement with the National Education Association (NEA), the national parent union of the MEA.

If MEA President Iris Salters can convince NEA President Dennis Van Roekel to back the MEA financially in this battle, the Michigan Republican Party will find itself holding a dull knife in the middle of a gun fight. According to disclosures filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, the NEA has 3.2 million members nationally, and brought in a billion dollars in dues between 2007-2010.

It does beg the question as to when the other big unions like the UAW, the SEIU, and the AFL-CIO in Michigan will join the fray. If they, like the Michigan Democratic Party, stay on the sidelines, they will have themselves to blame.

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