Taylor-Area Teachers Stunned by Secret Deal, Sue District, Union to Protect Rights
Educators Sue Taylor Federation of Teachers for Violation of Public Employee Relations Act
LANSING, MI, February 28, 2012 –Michigan Freedom Fund President Greg McNeilly today issued the following statement in response to a lawsuit filed by three teachers in the Taylor Public School District who oppose a secret deal recently approved by the District’s Board that would prevent them from exercising their freedom to join- or choose not to join- a union:
“Teachers in Taylor and in districts across Michigan deserve much better than secret, illegal backroom deals between their union and local school board that cut teachers’ salary while forcing them to join a union whether they want to or not.
“We are incredibly grateful for the work these teachers do for our kids and for their bravery in standing up to special interest leaders like AFT Michigan President David Hecker who aim to put their own paychecks and their political coffers ahead of their own members and, more importantly, our school children.”
The plaintiffs, Angela Steffke, Rebecca Metz and Nancy Rhatigan, filed the suit after learning that their local teachers union (Taylor Federation of Teachers Local 1085, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and AFT Michigan) desired to create a new contract in order to dodge Michigan’s new Freedom-to-Work law.
The teachers sued over a side agreement the union and school board reached that would force teachers to financially support the union for 10 years. This deal is outside of the four-year contract the union and school board reached, which is a violation of Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act and is intended to deny these teachers their ability to exercise their freedoms under the recently enacted right-to-work law.
They also disagree with a 10 percent pay cut being forced on them and other teachers while the president of AFT Michigan, David Hecker, received nearly 20 percent in additional compensation from 2010 to 2011. Hecker took home a salary of more than $131,000 in 2011, with a total compensation of more than $176,000. That total compensation is up more than $35,000 from the year before.