LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Education Association says it is not necessarily calling for a teacher strike in Michigan, but a state legislator says that’s exactly what the union meant in a recent letter to its local presidents, according to media reports. Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan.

The letter from Iris Salters, MEA president, directs locals to conduct votes on whether to authorize the state union to “engage in significant activities ? up to and including a work stoppage,” according to reports in Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Grand Rapids Press.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which also publishes Michigan Education Digest.

House Speaker Jase Bolger criticized Salters in a press release, saying the union was putting its interests ahead of school children and also endangering teachers’ jobs by asking them to participate in an illegal activity, according to The Press.

The letter advises employees that they could be fired for striking, but reads that "It is simply not possible to replace all or most school employees in the state…It is, to say the least, a time-consuming and expensive process for school districts,” The Press reported.

The letter also said, "There may be some inconvenience for your students.”

Salters said the letter was not a call for a strike but “an authorization of activities,” Michigan Capitol Confidential reported. When asked what activities, Salters said, “That is for the board and my members to decide,” the report said.

SOURCES:
The Grand Rapids Press, “Michigan Education Association leaders criticized for asking members to consider strike over ‘attack on people of Michigan,’” March 17, 2011

Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Illegal Teacher Strike Rumored After Union’s ‘Job Action’ Letter,” March 17, 2011

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Make Unions Accountable for Illegal Strikes,” Dec. 22, 2008

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