Michigan Education Association

Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College announced that its faculty approved a new employment contract.

 

NMC union employees voted almost unaminously today to accept the agreement that was reached after a 10-hour negotiation with a state mediator.

The faculty bargained for salary increases and more organizational flexibility after their contracts expired last December. An external fact finder report found salaries could be higher.

The NMC Board of Trustees will vote on the proposed contract next Monday.

A free market think-tank says the use of private contractors in public schools has grown over the last decade-and-a-half.

70 percent of public school districts in Michigan forgo the search for janitors, bus drivers and cafeteria staff. Instead, those schools rely on private contractors for at least one of those services. In 2001 only about 30 percent of school districts outsourced services.

James Hohman is with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy – which conducted the study. He said no school can provide public education by itself.

Morgan Springer

 

The administration and faculty at Northwestern Michigan College have finally reached a contract agreement. The agreement comes after more than a year and a half of tense negotiations.

Collective bargaining began when the faculty unionized in 2015. Bronwyn Jones, an instructor at NMC and a faculty representative in the negotiation process, says the faculty originally unionized in part because they felt left out of the college's decision-making processes and the faculty's relationship with administration was strained.

Teachers at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City say they’re being punished for forming a union. Faculty pay has been frozen while teachers bargain for their first union contract. The group filed a complaint with the state over the issue in late April.

The complaint addresses two types of pay increases that have been typical at NMC for teachers in the past.

It says increases for teachers based on seniority, called step increases, should continue because NMC is required to maintain “status quo” during contract negotiations.  

NMC faculty says 'yes' to union

Mar 12, 2015

Faculty at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City will soon begin negotiating contracts through a union. 75 percent of the faculty voted ‘yes’ to join the Michigan Education Association – the state's largest teachers' union.

Faculty members at Northwestern Michigan College will soon decide if they want a union. Ballots are being mailed today to 89 instructors at the community college in Traverse City.

The faculty has not publicly stated what it hopes to gain from a union. A spokeswoman for the Michigan Education Association, the organizing unit, declined to comment on the vote.

Marguerite Cotto, NMC’s vice president of lifelong and professional learning, says the concerns she’s aware of include issues like faculty wanting more say in how employees are evaluated.

A Michigan labor judge says the state’s largest teachers’ union must let members leave at any time.

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) only allows teachers to quit the union during a one-month period in August. But conservative groups say that is a violation of Michigan’s right-to-work law. They are applauding administrative law judge Julia Stern’s decision this week.

There is much at stake for the Michigan Education Association in these waning days of August.

That's because teachers and school workers who are MEA members have until Sunday to decide whether to remain in their union.

Dave Eggert covers Lansing for the Associated Press. He says this is a big litmus test for right-to-work in Michigan because the MEA is Michigan’s largest public sector union. There's a one-month window every year to allow members to opt out.

There are 112,000 active members. There isn’t an estimate on how many may opt out this month. Last year, only about 1,500 members left during the opt-out window.

Read Dave Eggert's story in the Detroit News here

*Listen to the full interview with Dave Eggert above. 

Lawmakers in Lansing have begun holding hearings on which standardized tests Michigan students will take next spring.

The state has already decided to replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests and educational officials have endorsed the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

In the coming months, you’ll likely be hearing a lot about the politics of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Some lawmakers say the test takes away control from local curriculum because it’s being developed by a national consortium.

Public Sector Consultant’s Michelle Richard joined us today to discuss the new test.

Listen to the full interview above.

Public school employees will continue to pay more for retirement and health benefits under a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The unanimous decision upholds a 2012 law that was challenged by teachers’ unions.

The teachers’ unions say the law violates the Michigan Constitution by changing the terms of their contracts with school districts. The law requires public school employees hired before 1990 to hand over four percent of their pay. Before, they contributed nothing. Teachers and support staff hired after 1990 have to pay an even bigger share of their paychecks.

Lawmakers Review Alleged Right-To-Work Violations

Nov 13, 2013

Republican state lawmakers say they want to get to the bottom of alleged violations of Michigan’s new right to work law.

A newly-formed state Senate committee Wednesday heard testimony from three teachers who are part of a lawsuit against the Michigan Education Association (MEA). They say the union bullied and threatened them when they tried to leave.

Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) chairs the Senate Compliance and Accountability Committee. He says the MEA also failed to alert teachers about how and when they could leave the union.

A teacher from Petoskey has joined a lawsuit against the state's largest teachers union. It's been filed by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy on behalf of eight Michigan public school teachers.

Ray Arthur wants to stop paying union dues. He says he was never given any information about how to opt out of the Michigan Education Association and in September he was told he missed the August window to do so.