MEA Teacher Strike Vote Kept Private

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

The Board of Directors of the MEA met Thursday, and there's little doubt the votes from the 1,100 local teachers unions on whether or not they support a state-wide strike were discussed.

But the MEA is staying mum. President Iris Salters said "the results are for internal, strategic purposes and will not be released publicly."

"The MEA owes it to their members to be transparent and tell them what's going on," Kyle Olson, CEO of the Education Action Group, said.

Olson said he's talked with several Michigan teachers who voted "no" but fear a strike will be authorized anyway, and without the vote totals,,, he says no one can know for sure if it really passed.

"They are concerned there is an agenda that's being pushed in Lansing toward an action and they're concerned about it," he said.

The MEA's position is that its members and a majority of voters oppose lawmakers ongoing attacks on public education and will not remain silent about their dissent. But Salters said a strike is only one of many "crisis activities" on the table.

Republican lawmakers are not waiting around for a MEA decision, bills were passed out of committee Wednesday that they hope persuades teachers to stay on the job.

"We have to abide by the law and making strikes illegal is not enough of a deterrent for the MEA," Rep. Paul Scott said.

Rep. Scott's bill would de certify any union that engages in an organized strike. The full house could vote on it soon.

Rep. Bill Rogers is in full support of bills that tighten penalties should the teachers strike.

"There should be some repercussions for something that's totally illegal." Rep. Rogers said.

For now, no one knows what the future holds because the MEA isn't saying.

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  • by Anonymous on Apr 29, 2011 at 06:43 PM
    Amen, Kelly. I am a teacher of 6 years, and I have been laid off 4 (possibly 5) of those 6 years, only to be called back a week or 2 before school starts. I do not make an "outlandish" salary. The benefits I receive are part of my salary, not on top of some outrageous sum of money that I get. Snyder is prepping our state for a huge teacher shortage. We will lose our brightest and best due to his attacks and cuts to our profession.
  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Apr 29, 2011 at 04:13 AM
    Let "em strike! The educational system is a mess. Too many people raking in outlandish pay and benefits! One way or another, cost MUST come down to realistic levels. Fire ALL of them, then make a offer to rehire at drasticlly reduced wages and maybe reduce or eliminate the generous pension and health care provisions. Most people can't afford to pay for their own medical expenses, so why should they be forced to foot the bill for these employees? Thank You. Ricardo
    • reply
      by Bob on Apr 29, 2011 at 06:01 AM in reply to Ricardo
      This article was about teachers, not legislators.
    • reply
      by Kelly on Apr 29, 2011 at 10:31 AM in reply to Ricardo
      "Too many people raking in outlandish pay and benefits!" I certainly hope you're not referring to teacher salaries, Ricardo. In no way are they "outlandish", and no one with any experience teaching would accept "drastically reduced wages" for the extremely difficult job of teaching, especially in the horrid atmosphere and conditions of the Lansing School District. And new teachers may accept it for a short while, but they would quickly learn and move on. I speak from 21 years of experience. the teachers in this state are being dumped on, and that is a huge, huge mistake.
  • by Smithy on Apr 28, 2011 at 08:30 PM
    "There should be some repercussions for something that's totally illegal." Rep. Rogers said. Hmmm... Rep. Rogers, I feel there should be STRONG repercussions for the actions of our governor and legislators for entertaining the thought of cutting education as proposed. Many may argue that teachers would be incredibly unprofessional for taking an "action" (strike). It is , in fact, illegal. However, how professional and ETHICAL is it for our government to attack not only teachers, but OUR CHILDREN'S right to a fairly funded education? Governor Snyder is portraying our schools as financially unstable units that need financial managers to stay afloat. How many know that our school aid fund actually would have had a SURPLUS this fiscal year if Snyder had not redirected millions of the K-12 budget towards community colleges and universities? As a parent, I am FIGHTING mad at our governor and legislators for creating a situation that HURTS our children. I am equally outraged that they have steered the blame to our hard-working teachers in the, almost daily, attacks on just about every aspect of their profession. Call your legislators TODAY, and let them know how you feel about this blatent disregard for our children's future!!
  • by Jim Location: Lansing on Apr 28, 2011 at 07:37 PM
    The "Education Action Group" isn't even a group, it's two guys one of whom is a lawyer for the Michigan Republican Party. Seems like WILX could find a better more credible source to quote than one of those frauds.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 28, 2011 at 07:31 PM
    When unions decide to keep votes quiet, it means that the vote was so against what was proposed that they were too embarressed to show that they do not know the will of their members.
  • by James Location: Dansville on Apr 28, 2011 at 04:58 PM
    Just because the politians turn their opinions into laws doesn't make those opionions or laws right. If the teachers' union doesn't fight for our kids who will? Were you or have you been one fighting at the capitial for change or have you just been worthlessly pouting to your friends at work? One of the signs I seen at a rally that I striked me, said something to the affect of "we are the people." That statement has alot of meaning but it seems to be falling on deaf ears all over the state. We as people have had the threat of a government shutdown...why don't we all shut down on the government? They are the ones who rely on our taxes dollars for their salaries...maybe they would listen then...the people's shut down I refer to is also called a strike...hmmmm!? Funny how the rest of the world is fighting for human rights and we are fighting to take them away!
  • by Concerned Citizen on Apr 28, 2011 at 04:16 PM
    Are our legislators on strike because I never see them do anything? Where are all these promised jobs? All I have noticed is attack after attack on teachers. Snyder doesn't want to place blame and point fingers but then again he is an expert in contradiction. What is he going to spend his time doing after he destroys schools. Police? Firefighters? Who's his next easy target? God forbid he actually try to help our economy.
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