Yesterday, Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof introduced SB 729. This bill makes Michigan a “Right to Work (for Less)” state BUT ONLY FOR TEACHERS. This is the concept first floated by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville last month. To remind you, here’s a transcript from the Off the Record show where he first floated it:
Tim Skubick: Right to work?
Richardville: Uh, not Right to Work. No, uh, I’m not a believer that that’s going to transition the economy at this point. However, I will look at some other things, maybe a subset of that. If you pay dollars into a public school system, you send your kids there, you want to participate, I don’t know that you necessarily need to be a part of a union in order to work or teach in the school district.
Skubick: So “Right to Work for Teachers”.
Richardville: I would call it the “Right to Teach” or “The Right to Participate” in the education system.
Skubick: Put that in a practical way. So that means that the MEA wouldn’t get members or how would that work?
Richardville: Well, they could still offer their membership but it, uh, it wouldn’t be a forced membership. They would have to recruit and do their work off-campus.
Detroit Free Press reporter Chris Christoff: Why would single out schools for that? Public schools?
Richardville: Well, because right now, the public schools are the one that are in dire straits and I believe that those unions and those workers that are out in the day-to-day, you know the teamsters, the engineers, the carpenters, the building trades, they’ve already had a significant effect from this economy. They’re paying more for their health care, they have less hours, they’re getting less pay. They’ve had that effect directly.
What’s happened in the public schools and, in some cases, the public government in general, is that that economic impact hasn’t hit. And so we’re making those adjustments for that reason.
Skubick: Is this an anti-MEA move?
Richardville: No, no, not at all.
Skubick: An attempt to get even?
Richardville: No, but we do have to —
Skubick: You’re not trying to take on the MEA, right?
Richardville: I don’t think taking on any union has anything to do with what our agenda is.
Not punitive, eh? Then how do you explain the fact that this bill affects only teachers that are represented by the Michigan Education Association (MEA) and not teachers represented by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)? It’s revenge, pure and simple, for the MEA’s involvement in the recall of House Education Committee Chair Paul Scott and everybody knows it.
Fortunately, it appears that Governor Rick Snyder may actually veto this bill (though I will believe that when I see it.)
We Are the People Michigan has a website up where you can sign a petition protesting this odious legislation HERE.
Republicans who control the Michigan Senate have introduced a version of so-called “right-to-teach” legislation.
The bill presented Thursday says public schools would not be allowed to require employees to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
But it appears the bill would affect only the state’s largest teachers union, the Michigan Education Association. It would affect agreements with unions that represent more than 50,000 workers, such as the MEA.
A spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Rick Snyder says the governor is unlikely to back the proposal if it gets to his desk.
In other news, Senate Republicans approved a bill that will lift the cap on charter schools in Michigan.
Michigan likely would be poised to add more charter schools under legislation that narrowly passed the Republican-led state Senate on Thursday.
The bill, approved 20-18 with some Republicans joining Democrats in opposition, advances to the Republican-led Michigan House. It’s one of many bills pending in the Legislature that supporters say are aimed at increasing choices for Michigan students attending public schools.
The Senate bill would end certain numerical and geographical charter school limits, including the current cap of 150 university-sponsored charter schools. The state has roughly 250 charter schools or public school academies overall.