On Wednesday, the Michigan House’s Committee on Education discussed two bills aimed at upping the consequences on teachers who strike illegally, amid reports that the Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, is considering just such a move.
One bill, introduced by state Rep. Bill Rogers (R), would allow for a teacher who strikes to have their teaching license suspended for at least 2 years, or revoked altogether.
Rogers pointed out to The Detroit Free Press that students can get expelled for breaking rules.
“Yet we say that educators can break the law and walk away scot-free,” he said.
Another bill, introduced by state Rep. Paul Scott (R), increases the financial penalties on the unions themselves in the case of a strike.
“These are scare tactics to keep school employees who are devoted to their students from voicing their opinions,” MEA spokesperson Doug Pratt told the Free Press.
Democrats on the committee said the bills would single out teachers over other public employees.
According to The Grand Rapids Press, Michigan teachers union leaders “are angry over Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed deep cuts to education budgets as well as the recently signed law giving emergency financial managers to authority to break existing labor contracts.”
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com