Last week I wrote about how the corporatist front group Mackinac Center had sent a mass email to teachers in over 50 school districts in Michigan encouraging them to leave the Michigan Education Association, one of the two largest teachers unions in the state.
Their effort didn’t stop there. This week, teachers across the state received postcards in the mail urging them to freeload off the work their union does on their behalf to secure reasonable wages and benefits by leaving the union. This shameless effort to destroy the MEA is transparent in its intent: starve the MEA of the funds it needs to operate to help teachers work with the dignity they deserve and to be adequately compensated for the essential service they provide to society. Because the MEA negotiates on behalf of ALL teachers, whether they are dues-paying members of the union or not, it is, at its core, a push to have teachers freeload by enjoying the benefits of union protection without having to contribute to the effort.
When right to work became the law of the land in Michigan, fewer than 1% of teachers left their union which enrages groups like Mackinac Center intent on crushing teachers unions and labor unions in general.
Here is their offensive and disgusting mailing:
The “handwritten” note at the bottom says, “At the lake and don’t want to look at your computer? Don’t worry, the site is mobile friendly!” The implication here is that teachers spend their summers lounging on the beach on an extended vacation the rest of us don’t enjoy. This, of course, is an absurd characterization since most teachers spend their summers doing school-related work like professional development or even working a second job to supplement the meager income they make.
The Mackinac Center is a group that receives enormous financial support from the same corporations that benefit from the shift of tax dollars from public schools to for-profit education corporations. Their single-minded goal is to end public education in Michigan and turn over the education to for-profit corporations that siphon off tax dollars into their own bank accounts. To them, teachers are an “expense” to be cut. They don’t see teachers as the important heroes in our communities that they are.
When profits are involved in education, you can be certain that decisions on everything from resources for kids to pay for teachers will be weighed against the corporate bottom line. When that happens, the losers are our children and, ultimately, our society as a whole.
And it’s disgusting.