The Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday announced they would hear Gov. Snyder’s appeal of the so-called 3 percent case, meaning another round of court action before a ruling is issued.
No final decision has been issued as part of the court’s move – the latest in a series of twists and turns since MEA and AFT-Michigan filed suit over Public Act 75 of 2010, which mandated school districts withhold 3 percent of each employee’s wages for retiree health care.
The Supreme Court’s latest order – granting the state’s application for leave to appeal – means the court has decided to review the decision of the lower court. Additional briefs will be filed by the parties, and oral argument likely will take place before the court, according to MEA General Counsel Mike Shoudy. No schedule has been set for those next steps.
“We look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court and to the day when school employees across the state will receive the money that was illegally taken from them,” MEA President Steve Cook said in a press statement.
Almost exactly one year ago, the state Court of Appeals ruled for the second time that involuntary deductions from school employees’ paychecks violated state and federal constitutional protections involving the taking of private property without compensation, due process, and impairment of contracts.
An earlier trial court ruling similarly found the state could not deduct money from current school employees’ wages to pay for retiree health care – a benefit those employees were not guaranteed to receive.
The $550 million illegally taken from teachers, secretaries, bus drivers, food service workers and other support staff from 2010-12 has been held in escrow since the lawsuit was filed nearly seven years ago. In 2012, state lawmakers passed a replacement law that has passed legal muster since.
The case has already been appealed to the Supreme Court once before – after the state initially lost at the trial and appellate courts. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals for further consideration, which resulted in the June 2016 ruling in favor of MEA and the coalition of plaintiffs.
Last summer, MEA members signed petitions and protested outside Snyder’s offices, urging him to drop further appeals at taxpayer expense and put an end to attacks on school employees and public education.
After Snyder’s decision to appeal, hundreds of MEA members participated in a day of action last August, staging rallies and pickets in cities across the state. More recently, State Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) introduced Senate Resolution 37, calling on Gov. Snyder to drop this appeal.
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