Michigan's largest public school employee union is the Michigan Education Association. This labor union has spoken out against: merit pay for teachers; hiring non-union private contractors to provide transportation, food and custodial services at public schools; and a right-to-work law that would allow individual teachers to opt out of the union and related membership dues.
Each election cycle, the labor union recommends candidates for contested offices at many levels of government. For the 2008 general election, the MEA claimed a greater than 90 percent success rate, having helped 93 out of 103 recommended candidates to victory, including 71 out of 79 of those seeking election to the 110-member state House of Representatives.
As is often the case, a large majority of these recommendations are given to Democratic Party candidates. However, there are often exceptions — this year the MEA recommendation was awarded and carried to victory by 11 of the 43 Republican state representatives who will serve in the 2009-2010 legislative session.
The list of MEA-recommended Republican lawmakers includes seven incumbents and four new members. Each of their names and the campaign Web sites for the new members is listed below. More complete contact information for the incumbent lawmakers is listed on page 11. The full list of MEA recommendations and additional contact information is available at www.meavotes.org/candidates.
Richard Ball, R-Laingsburg
Kevin Green, R-Wyoming
David Hildenbrand, R-Lowell
Rick Jones, R-Oneida Twp.
James Marleau, R-Lake Orion
Tim Moore, R-Farwell
Tory Rocca, R-Sterling Heights
CEOs FIND LEADERSHIP MIA IN MI
In competing with other states on matters of taxation and regulation, Michigan's grade is currently an 'F' according to Ed Kopko, chairman and CEO of "Chief Executive" magazine, speaking to the MIRS Capitol Capsule newsletter on Sept. 16 (www.mirsnews.com - subscription required).
The Web site for the magazine claims that the publication is "the only magazine written strictly for CEOs and their peers and is the leading source of intelligence for and about CEOs." MIRS reports that "Chief Executive" takes an annual survey of CEOs regarding the best and worst states in which to do business, and Michigan is currently ranked near the bottom at 43rd.
Though many in-state politicians profess to believe that Michigan's workforce is an asset relative to competing states, the magazine gives the Great Lakes State only a C+ grade for "workforce quality." Kopko attributes part of this mediocre rating to unionization, noting that Texas, the highest ranked state on the overall list, scored a B+ on the workforce quality subcomponent. Kopko tells MIRS that studies show a $5,000 additional annual cost of hiring the same worker to do the same job in Michigan, as compared to right-to-work Texas.
A "significant overhaul" of Michigan's political environment, taxes and regulation is the remedy recommended by those surveyed. But according to Kopko, these business leaders also "don't view Michigan as having the leadership to do it."
For additional information and an opportunity to comment on these issues, please see www.mackinac.org/9955.