WOODHAVEN, Mich. - Woodhaven-Brownstown teachers have authorized their bargaining unit to "take action" to settle a contract, but stopped short of calling it a strike vote, according to a report in The Detroit News.

The dispute centers on teacher health insurance. Teachers want a plan offered by the Michigan Education Special Services Association, and have offered to pay a higher deductible for some services, but the district is offering alternatives, the report said. MESSA is a third-party insurance administrator that sells Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans to a majority of Michigan conventional public school districts. It is affiliated with the Michigan Education Association, the union that represents Woodhaven-Brownstown teachers.

"It means we're ready to take further action. Our desire is not to go on strike," Nancy Koziol, an MEA director, told The News.

She said the district has enough money to settle the contract.

 "They know as well as we know what is legal action and what is not," Superintendent Barbara Lott told The News. Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan.

The Detroit News, "Woodhaven-Brownstown teachers vote for action to settle contract," June 1, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Make Unions Accountable for Illegal Strikes," Dec. 22, 2008