Michigan’s teachers union leader recently threatened that the union is “squarely on the path to our own Wisconsin” — a signal for an ugly and illegal walk-out.
The Detroit News carried a column by Michigan Education Association President Iris Salters March 23 attacking what she called “devastating budget cuts” by new conservative Governor Rick Snyder.
The governor’s 2012 executive budget and 2013 projected budget, proposed in February, is intended to “lay a new, sound foundation for Michigan’s reinvention and put an end to the significant budget deficits the state has experience for the past decade.” The state was then under the rule of left-wing, union-embracing Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm.
In education, the budget calls for “over $1.4 billion for special education students, as well as $1.2 billion in core education programs … protection of student financial aid, a ‘Pathway to Higher Education’ grant for needy students, and $670 million for workforce training. But it also cuts school money.
In a letter to teachers–a copy of which I obtained–union boss Salters calls for a membership meeting in April to vote to “initiate crisis activities up to and including job action (a synonym for strike).” Teachers have to be union members to teach in Michigan. An attachment to her letter says the union “will defend any member who is disciplined or discharged.”
The nation’s two huge teachers unions, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) embrace a combined membership of more than 4.5 million and pour out political contributions to liberal Democrats, the Wall Street Journal noted March 26 Their power lies in their ability to obstruct. Michigan’s union is affiliated with AFT.
Boss Salters wrote in her anxiety-laden Detroit News column: The budget reductions “translate into larger class sizes, fewer staff members and reduced programs. Schools will close, and districts will face financial ruin,” she ranted. Schools, she contended, will get “a minimum of $470 less per child.” She envisions a horror of students doing without “paper, pencils, textbooks and computers.”
Salters wildly pleaded that “the educational future of more than a million Michigan students must not be sacrificed. We will not stand silent while Michigan’s public schools and the middle class suffer more.” Suddenly, now it’s the entire middle class that’s in agony.
“Until now,” Salters theorized, “school employees have used the collective bargaining process to establish learning conditions for students as well as their working conditions.” How the bargaining process can help students learn would be about as difficult to prove as that CIO-AFL’s Richard Trumka favors right-to-work laws.
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