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They Want to Take Away Your Voice!

The Republican plan for Education Reform has reformed you into earning less money, paying more for healthcare, putting more children in classrooms, and limiting your collective bargaining rights.  And, while the current attacks are aimed at K-12, higher education employees are not far behind.  There are bills being acted upon now that will end payroll deduction for union dues/fair share just for school employees, prohibit the use of public facilities for union meetings and other purposes, and a so called “Right to Work” just for teachers bill is being proposed.  Send your legislators an email to let them know you do have a voice!

Tenure Vote Scheduled for Wednesday

A four-bill package (HB4625-4628) expected to be voted on in the Michigan House on Wednesday, would revise Michigan's Teacher Tenure Law, the Revised School Code, and the Public Employment Relations Act. These bills will effectively gut collective bargaining and teacher tenure. These bills are tie-barred together so all must be enacted for any one to take effect.  Please call your Representative today and ask them to vote NO on HB4625, 4626, 4627, and HB4628.  Or send an email.  You can find more information on page 2 of the May AFT Michigan Capitol Report.

Action Needed Today, Stop the Tax on Pensions!

The Senate Reforms Committee took substantial testimony today (5/10) on HB 4361, the tax bill that includes taxation of pensions on an age-related sliding scale.  The committee is slated to meet again tomorrow morning and take a little more testimony before reporting the bill to the floor.  We have been told that the Senate plans to vote on it on the Senate floor on Thursday, telling members to be prepared to stay all night.

The Governor and the legislature are taxing the pensions of retirees, raising the taxes on low-income working families and cutting education in order to fund a tax cut for large corporations!  This is not shared sacrifice!

Please call your state senator today or tomorrow to urge a “NO” vote on this unfair shift of taxes to retirees.  Click here to find your Senator’s phone number.  A phone call is better, but you may also send an email by clicking here.  Do it today!

Join the Lansing Rally Today Via Email!

Thousands of citizens are participating at a rally in front of the State Capitol today, if you can't join in person you can join in the effort by sending an email to the Governor and your State Senator and State Representative.  At the rally we will be sending people to go visit their legislators in person, please join with them by paying a "visit" by email.  Let they know you are in Lansing in spirit.  We ARE the People!

EFM Bills Pass House

Today, March 15, the House passed the last two bills required to finish the Emergency Financial Manager legislation.  It now goes to the Governor and he has said he will sign the bills.  The way to keep EFMs away from our school districts and local communities is to keep them out of financial trouble.  We can’t do that given Governor Snyder’s proposed budget which includes cuts to schools, universities and local community Revenue Sharing.  If you are able, we hope to see you in Lansing tomorrow for a budget protest rally at the State Capitol.  If you can’t make it to Lansing, please call your State Representative or Senator, find out when they are having local events – coffee hours, town halls, etc. – and then attend with a few friends, or lots of friends.  Local action, in person, with your Representatives and Senators is very effective.

Rally at the State Capitol

The Michigan AFL-CIO affiliate unions, including AFT Michigan, and our community allies from Working Michigan, ask you to stand up for Michigan's working families and protest the relentless Republican-led attacks in the state legislature.  Wednesday, March 16, Noon, at the State Capitol in Lansing.  There is a bus leaving from the office of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, 2875 W. Grand Blvd (at the Lodge Freeway), Detroit.  The bus leaves at 10am and leaves from Lansing at 3pm.  It is free, on a first-come basis.  Call Margaret Weertz at the DFT office, 313-875-3500, to make a reservation.

EMF Bills at End of Process

The Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) bills passed the Michigan Senate at 1:15p.m. this afternoon.  The House concurred with three of the six bills.  They can vote on a fourth bill as soon as tomorrow.  Because of legislative rules they cannot vote on the final two until Tuesday.  It is only when these final two bills pass that the entire package takes effect.  We have no doubt that these final three bills will pass the House.  These EFM bills will allow someone appointed by the Governor to arrive in a community, strip the locally elected school board or city council of their power, throw out contracts and not be challenged by the people, the elected officials or the courts.

Governor Snyder has repeatedly said he supports collective bargaining rights, yet he will sign these bills.  He also said he wanted to invest in early childhood education, but his budget offered nothing.  He offers us a budget of “shared sacrifice” but cuts taxes on corporations and increases taxes on senior citizens and low income working families.  We may have lost the battle over the EFM bills, but we will continue fighting because as Amal Awad-Jumah from Dearborn explained why he called his Senator - “it’s our obligation.”  We must fight for our locals who will be pushed into financial crisis if the Governor’s budget becomes a reality.  We must fight for our students, for public schools and public universities.  Individuals working together through their unions are the last best defense of the middle class.  It cannot be the same old partisan politics as usual where the party in power tries to hurt the other side.  We need balance that brings our leaders together to create a quality education system and jobs here in Michigan.  Keep watching your email, our webpage and Facebook to find out what our next actions will be and how you can participate.

Visit the AFT Legislative Action Center

Make your views known to those in Congress and state legislatures who represent you on the issues that affect working families every day.  Click here to visit the AFT's Legislative Action Center.