Late in the Granholm administration as Michigan’s economy was at its worst thanks to the Bush recession, the state legislature passed a law requiring teachers to give up 3% of their paycheck to fund their retirement account, something they had never had to do in the past. The America Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Michigan Education Association (MEA) sued the state on the basis that teachers were being asked to pay in advance for benefits they may never receive.
The teachers won round after round of court battles all the way up to the state Supreme Court in 2012 where the case languished on their docket for two years. In the meantime, Republicans passed a replacement law that gave teachers an opt-out option. The teachers sued over this law, too. Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled the 2012 replacement law WAS constitutional and sent the 2010 case back to the Court of Appeals to determine if the new law rendered the 2010 law moot or impacted it in any way. During this time, fees collected from teachers between 2010 and 2013 – more than $550 million – were held in escrow.
Last week, in yet another victory for teachers, the Appeals Court upheld their decision on the 2010, moving the teachers one step closer to receiving the money that the state illegal withheld from their paychecks and that’s where we are today. What is unknown at this point is whether or not Gov. Snyder will once again waste taxpayer money fighting this case in the state Supreme Court.
The MEA has a petition asking Gov. Snyder to stop using tax dollars to screw teachers out of the more than half-billion dollars they are owed. You can sign the petition HERE.
Here’s the text of the petition:
Two men — Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette — stand between more than 200,000 Michigan school employees and the money that a state appeals court has ruled is rightfully theirs.
Sign this petition today! Tell Governor Snyder and Attorney General Schuette to return the $550 million stolen from Michigan school employees!
For five years, MEA and AFT Michigan have fought long and hard to force the state to return money that was illegally deducted from school employees’ paychecks from 2010 to 2012, when a law mandated that all school employees contribute 3 percent of their salary through an involuntary payroll deduction to fund retiree health care (a benefit that they were not guaranteed to receive).
During that time, more than $550 million was taken from school employees — and thanks to our legal action, held in an interest-bearing escrow pending an outcome to this case.
Now, for the second time, a court has ruled Public Act 75 unconstitutional. But Snyder and Schuette may appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court — a complete waste of time and taxpayer resources in their efforts to continue attacking school employees. The move would further deny school employees the return of their compensation unlawfully taken by the state.
We can’t let that happen.
We are so close to bringing this legal battle to an end — if Snyder and Schuette don’t appeal. The recent court victory is proof of the fact that strength in numbers wins. We’re giving this all we’ve got, and we’re not stopping now.
Urge Snyder and Schuette to respect the court’s ruling and not appeal this case! They have less than 40 days left to decide whether they’ll appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. Let’s keep the pressure on.
TAKE ACTION by signing this petition, which we’ll hand-deliver to their offices. And don’t forget to share this far and wide with family, friends, colleagues and anyone else who believes that school employees deserve their money back.
Please sign the petition and show your solidarity and support for our teachers while saving our state precious funds that can be put to GOOD use elsewhere.