Friday, April 15, 2011

Two pieces of legislation are moving QUICKLY!

In an effort to keep you informed, I would like to give you a legislative update. As expected the legislature is moving VERY quickly on bills that dampen your collective bargaining voice AND ON YOUR PAY AND BENEFITS.

1) The Republican-led Senate committee approved Senate Bill 7 and SJR C legislation Wednesday to require all public employees pay 20 percent of the cost of their health insurance.

The Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee passed Senate Bill 7 on party-line votes, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats dissenting. This vote occurred as 4500 people protested outside the doors of the Capitol building!

The legislation does not treat local units of government fairly. For example, local municipalities could opt out of the requirements with a two-thirds vote of their governing body; this exemption does not apply to public or intermediate school districts, community colleges, or universities.

The measures now head to the full Senate.


2) HOUSE BILL 4059 - Prohibit public employer contracts that pay union officials for time conducting union business. This makes “PAID RELEASE TIME” funded by a school district illegal.

This bill was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 59 – 47 yesterday. It is now being sent to the Michigan Senate. MIRS News Service reported that the debate over this legislation was “hot”.

The effect of this bill is that full time release presidents like myself would be illegal unless the salary was paid for by union dues. In addition, any union representation, whether for personnel matters, contractual matters, or for bargaining teams, for example, would be illegal as well, unless paid for by union dues.

The MEA’s response is:
The Talking Points:

This is a Local Control Issue
It sends a clear message that the state knows better than local departments how to run their operations. Who knows the operation better than the people who run it?

This is Misguided Policy
Employers are not forced to these provisions. Employers agree to this practice because they realize that problems can be handled quickly and not be allowed to worsen by inaction. Addressing issues of employees is part of resolving issues within our buildings and districts. The result can be better employer relations, process improvements, a safer worksite and improvements in quality.

This Bill will not Save Money
Not dealing with problems can lead to loss of productivity and quality. This practice would not go into effect until a new agreement is reached and the practice is not state-wide. Some locations have this provision, while others don’t. The reason for this is because it is agreed to locally on an as needed basis.

This will not Create Jobs
There is a lot of talk about job creation, yet the bills being introduced like this one do not support that claim. This is another anti-union, anti-worker piece of legislation and an abuse of legislative power.