Feature

Court restores first amendment rights to CMU faculty

CMU faculty’s first amendment rights were restored today by Judge Paul H. Chamberlain after the university filed an injunction to end the FA’s work stoppage on Monday.

“This is a win for the faculty and the students at CMU,” said Laura Frey, CMU FA President. “We had our day in court, and thanks to the insight and fairness of Judge Chamberlain, we prevailed.”

Senate Bill 7 passes Legislature; on its way to Governor

SB 7 has passed both the House and the Senate today and is on its way to the Governor for his signature. Earlier, both chambers accepted the legislative conference committee report for SB 7.

The bill, requiring local governments and school districts to spend no more than a certain amount on their employees’ health insurance, is a combination of both a hard cap and an 80/20 plan.

Under a hard cap, SB 7 would require public employers to pay no more than $5,500 (single--NOT $5,000 as previously reported), $11,000 (individual and spouse) and $15,000 (family coverage).  A public employer could elect the 80/20 split with employees for health care costs. While local units of government could get out of either cost-sharing plan, school districts must choose either the hard cap or the 80-/20 plan.

URGENT! Contact your legislators now! Tell them to vote NO on SB 7!

State of Michigan Capitol Building
State of Michigan Capitol Building

On Tuesday, the legislative conference committee for Senate Bill 7 reported out a compromise version of this bill that continues the assault on public employee health care. Both the House and Senate are expected to vote on this final version of SB 7 tomorrow.

SB 7 would require public employers pay no more than $15,000 for family coverage, with lower thresholds applied to individuals and couples, OR elect to split the cost of health insurance 80/20 with their employees.

Local units of government -- other than school districts -- could opt out of either cost-sharing plan. School districts are required to choose either the hard cap or the 80/20 plan.

CMU faculty will obey court order; classes resume tomorrow

Mt. Pleasant, Mich.; Aug. 22, 2011 -- The Central Michigan University Faculty Association will return to class tomorrow as ordered by Circuit Court Judge Paul H. Chamberlain in a temporary restraining order issued today.

CMU faculty declares job action

Mt. Pleasant, Mich.; Aug. 22, 2011 -- The CMU Faculty Association will not be in their classrooms on Monday, Aug. 22, the first day of classes. The faculty agreed to a job action beginning 7 a.m. Monday morning. 

During the faculty’s Sunday night membership meeting, CMU students were gathered outside to show their support for faculty.

Faculty wanted to bargain on Sunday, but the university refused, stating that if their proposals were not accepted, there was no reason to meet.

Legislators set to return--what's on their agenda?

Vacationing legislators will be back at work soon. Up until their summer break, they were busy focusing on attacking school employees and the middle class. And the picture doesn’t look much brighter when they return.

Expected on their agenda is:

  • SB 7 which requires public employees to pay a portion of their health insurance. The legislation was moved to a joint House/Senate conference committee where debate over an 80/20 contribution versus a hard cap has been taking place. The bill is on a fast track with a goal of getting it through the Legislature Aug. 24.
  • Right-to-Work would allow workers who don’t want to pay union dues the right to freeload—they would get the same benefits as union members without paying any union dues. Back in February, Republicans introduced HB 4054, SB 116 and SB 120 establishing “Right to Work” zones. A new group, Michigan Freedom to Work, has emerged in support of a statewide law. Gov. Snyder claims the issue is not on his agenda but he would sign it. With anti-union sentiment running so strong, he may get that chance.

Parental involvement focus of education reform meeting

Trying to find a legislative solution to a lack of parental involvement in schools, an education reform committee considered the idea of withholding public assistance payments if parents didn’t attend teacher conferences.

Rep. Tim Melton (D-Auburn) suggested the possibility at a legislative education reform meeting this week. This is not the first time Melton has made the suggestion. He considers a lack of parental involvement in schools a form of child neglect and believes Child Protective Services should be called in, especially for parents of students in kindergarten through fifth grade with a high percentage of absences.

Snyder names school takeover panel for lowest performing schools

Gov. Rick Snyder appointed 11 people to the board of the new Education Achievement System (EAS) which will take over and run Michigan’s lowest performing schools—starting with 45 failing Detroit public schools.

The 11-member board includes two members appointed by Detroit Public Schools, two members appointed by Eastern Michigan University, and seven members appointed by the governor.

Snyder signs anti-collective bargaining, anti-tenure bills into law

Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a four-bill package that limits collective bargaining and changes how teachers are evaluated and dismissed in Michigan. Read the full press release sent from the State of Michigan Executive Office on July 19, 2011.

Under the new laws, formerly known as House Bills 4625-4628, teachers will have to wait five years instead of four to earn tenure. Educators will no longer be allowed to collectively bargain teacher placement and teachers at all levels can now be fired for almost any reason. Read more.

Related: Next step is recall of out-of-touch legislators

Senate passes anti-collective bargaining, anti-tenure bills

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign legislation that passed this evening to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights and dismantle teacher tenure.

With hundreds of teachers and education support professionals looking on from the gallery above the legislative chamber, the GOP-led Senate passed the four-bill package. House Bills 4625-4628 previously passed in the House.

"This is a shameful day in Michigan," said Sen. John Gleason, D-Flushing, who opposed the bills.

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