Bills would stiffen penalties for teacher strikes

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation to fine the Michigan Education Association $5,000 for every participating teacher, per day, in the event of a teacher strike, and to suspend or revoke each striking educator’s license was introduced in the state House of Representatives Tuesday, according to The Flint Journal.

While teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan, existing penalties are hard to enforce, House Republicans said in a press release, according to The Journal.

The proposals by Reps. Bill Rogers, R-Brighton, and Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, came shortly after the MEA called on local units to vote on authorizing “crisis activities up to and including job action,” The Journal reported.

"This bill not only enforces current law, but protects teachers from political forces at the top of the MEA," Scott said, according to The Journal.

The bill would also charge teachers a fine equal to one day’s pay for every day or partial day they participate in a strike, the report said.

Teachers in the Wayne-Westland Community School District went on strike for four days in fall of 2008 until a circuit court judge ordered them back to work, according to a 2008 report in The Westland Eagle. The judge also ordered the school district not to take disciplinary action until the ongoing contract negotiations between the district and union were concluded. Later media reports said that a letter of reprimand was placed in each teacher’s personnel file.

The Flint Journal, “Paul Scott introduces bill to fine teachers union in event of strike,” March 22, 2011

The Westland Eagle, “Court orders Wayne-Westland teachers back to work,” Oct. 9, 2008

Michigan Education Digest, “Wayne-Westland settles on raises, health concessions,” Feb. 4, 2009

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