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Proposition 2 and the End of the World (As We Know It)

The misinformation campaign surrounding Michigan Proposition 2 and the simple right of employers and workers to negotiate with each other outside of State interference or control

I am no great fan of amending the State constitution for political purposes, but I am in strong support of Proposition 2, which would enshrine the right to collective bargain in the State constitution. Why is this necessary and why the high art form of misdirected truths toward this issue by our state Republicans, in Lansing and locally.

The Republicans in control of the State of Michigan passed legislation that would dictate benefits for public employees. Also by starving the school districts of funds that are reduced due to corporate tax breaks. Now one would wonder why a party that espouses free enterprise would take a page from Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro and impose state controls on such issues? This answer is that free enterprise is for certain individuals and groups (banks, investment bankers, employers etc.) but not for public workers.

The most important fact that they do not tell you is that collective bargaining is the truest form of free enterprise. Both parties can make negotiation requests of the other and for an agreement to be reached, BOTH parties must agree. If both parties do not agree, management can implement what is called the last best offer.

This however is not enough for State Republicans, who want to force benefit and wage concessions without the right of both parties to bargain. What have they done with this money….. tax breaks for business interests to “create” jobs. However unemployment in Michigan is UP for the last 7 months.

Now local and state Republicans will crow that we still have collective bargaining in Michigan. This is somewhat true, in the sense that chickens can collectively bargain with Col. Sanders as to whether they would like to be fried or broasted.

It is unfortunate that the misuse of legislative power in Michigan has resulted in the need to enshrine in the state constitution a right that has been in existence for decades. Politics does make strange bedfellows, but Snyder, Calley, Colbeck, Heise and their fellow travelers marching to the tune of state imposed economic benefits is perhaps a trip down the rabbit hole that even Alice would be amazed to take.

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Bryan Bentley (Editor) October 14, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Could you explain to me how schools are being starved of funding due to corporate tax breaks please?
Bruce Koldys October 14, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Glad to help clarify this issue. This is directly from MLIVE.com If schools don’t get the money, a big reason will be a $1.6 billion business tax cut that took effect Jan. 1. That cut is costing the School Aid Fund — the primary revenue source for Michigan’s K-12 schools — more than $700 million per year, or almost $500 per student, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency. http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2012/01/new_michigan_usiness_tax_cut_t.html Now here is how the story unfolded. Snyder and the Republicans once they got control of the State wanted a way to "pay back" public employee unions for supporting Democratic candidates. The first step was this tax shift. This was designed to starve districts into forcing their employees out of the middle class with huge wage and benefit cuts. This not being enough the next step was to eliminate the ability of districts to withold union dues from workers for their union. According to the MASB (Michigan Association of School Boards) it cost ZERO for a district to provide this service, but attacking public employees is the new order of the day. No other than Nolan Finley (the Detroit News columnist who is often to the right of Heinrich Himmler) stated that the legislation was pure and simply "punitive". The third step was then to implement state dictation of benefits for public employees ala Hugo Chavez and company. The ulimate goal is the elimination of public employee unions and the Walmartization of Michigan
Hairman October 14, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Schools are NOT being starved of funds, The funds are just mishandled. How much $$ do you think it will take to educate those that DO NOT want to be educated...( Detroit Schools )? It's obvious that way too much $$ has been wasted on those that DO NOT want to learn.
EHM October 14, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Some districts may have been mishandling money, but not all. From what I remember, Plymouth/Canton was one of the leaner school districts around, and proposal A used that to give them less than other districts (since what you got was based on what you spent previous years). And now in recent years the state has drastically cut the spending per pupil.
Hairman October 14, 2012 at 07:16 PM
That is my point. No matter how much $$ you give the districts...they WILL spend and NOT necessarily on the STUDENTS. There is a GOOD OLE BOY network in the public education system that SHOULD be addressed....especially in the administrators clique. Many ( NOT ALL ) retire, get rehired as consultants at a high pay with benefits...car, travel,food & beverage expenses...etc. I know this on a personal level and it does NOT benefit the students .
Scott Craig October 14, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Great districts like Northville have suffered mightily under the state imposed budget cuts. Our teachers took major cuts in wages and now pay 3,000 plus for their health care. Meanwhile these same teachers now face class sizes of up to 42. Scott Craig Northville Scool Board Trustee
Bruce Koldys October 14, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Education is a labor intensive practice, from teachers to administrators to non instructional staff. Abuse of "consultants" is close family to outsourcing of school employees (to supposedly save money for students). Just look at busing in PCCS. I often wonder if some of these "subcontract" employees took navigation lessons from Amelia Earhart. This all results from a top down (from the Governor and down) mindset that education is to be run as a business enterprise, rather than a calling.
Hairman October 14, 2012 at 07:49 PM
So how many left to find a better job with better bebefits?( 3 months+ off with ample time for part time work). I also assume NO ONE would love to replace those that want to leave for less $$ and fewer benefits. If you have dificulty finding replacements I would be glad to assist. NO upfront money to me I'll split the savings 50%/50% and I'll buy my own benefits. Game ON???
Bryan Bentley (Editor) October 14, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Bruce, The funding you are talking about was a one time $200 per student. Key word: One Time. I also get a little concerned when you bring names like Heinrich Himmler into any conversation. I think that is inappropriate...
sine-of-the-times October 15, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Maybe you should have been a teacher Hairman, you seem awfully jealous. But wait, you also seem to hate educating kids. Tough call for you then.
Hairman October 15, 2012 at 12:33 AM
I was a teacher in Dearborn 1970's. I enjoyed the kids. I am not jealous. Tenure is the WORST thing to fester in the educational system. I socialize with many teachers, my best friends are retired superintendents. I am soooo glad that I had the foresight to leave that profession. So much for your perception. Have a good life.
Denise Nash October 15, 2012 at 04:12 AM
@Bryan Bentley - incorrect. It was a $400 cut, unless the district outsourced various functions such as the bus drivers, the food preparation people, and the janitors. If they did all those things, they got back money from the state because they were using "Best Practices". This is as I understand it. The republican legislature is supposed to cut yet MORE this year. At the same time, their ads on TV say that Prop 2 will stop all our background checks on teachers. This is laughable since they demanded outsourcing and completely lost control of who those companies hire to clean the schools, drive the buses, and prepare the food.
Denise Nash October 15, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Agreed that some do not want education. Where are our vocational programs for these kids? Where are the counselors? Oh that's right, we cut so much out of the school budgets there is no room for this type of thing. Until we cut childhood poverty and have early intervention programs this will all continue. Pay me now or pay me lots more later when they end up in Jail, etc.
Denise Nash October 15, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Agreed. Too much for admin. 100% agreement.
Denise Nash October 15, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Hairman, you seem very angry...did you retire when you say you "left" the educational system? We have friends like you who complain all the time about the schools, union, tenure, etc, yet they accept their paid retirement health care, and their pension. I would think if they were so against it all, they wouldn't accept those benefits. But there you have it. Perhaps K. Bentivolio and you have something in common? He seems very angry at kids, too, and his goal in his classroom was to make them all cry. Now, he has a reindeer farm, pretends to be Santa and is running to be my congressman.
DownUpside1 October 15, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I have often heard that the of incoming money the districts receive, there is a rising % paid out annually to the state retired teachers. Amounts that districts are not able to negotiate and that the state sends them a bill for each year. Are those legacy costs (that reportedly are non-negotiable) strangling the district's finances?
Bruce Koldys October 15, 2012 at 07:17 PM
This is only partially correct. The state DOES determine the percentage per employee for retirement. However in collective bargaining all sides can make negotiation requests of each other. (One caveat is that under a previous Republican administration, the right to negotiate subcontracting was removed by law. If you see a trend here you are most wise) . I am familiar with several recent contracts negotiated in nearby school districts where the employees negotiated with management to pay any amount of retirement above a certain percentage. In theory you could negotiate that employees pay all of it!! This illustrates that Republicans in this state have made collective bargaining a red herring, claiming on TV that it will be responsible for child molestors working in schools, theives, criminals and perhaps Bigfoot himself.
Jerry Grady October 17, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Does anyone know how many states have this in their constitution? You begin to walk slippery slopes when constitutions begin to be changed without real knowledge. And unfortuntely neither side has provided true honest facts.

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