Michigan Union Wants Employees in Failing Schools to Have a ‘Right to a Job’

Kyle Olson | June 18, 2013

Some union-controlled school boards in Michigan are finding that revenue has not been keeping up with expenses, likely due to a lack of fiscal prudence and their inability to say “no” to their union friends.

As a result, several school districts are on the brink of insolvency and they’ve stretched the patience of state officials to the breaking point.

The state House has passed legislation allowing the state superintendent and state treasurer to “dissolve” a school district if leaders fail to submit a deficit reduction plan or prove incapable of implementing such a plan. Dissolved districts would become part of neighboring districts.

That would seem like a fitting fate for districts like Saginaw Buena Vista, which had to close school for several days this spring due to its inability to meet payroll.

Responsible adults should be concerned about the effect that such poor management has on students. But the Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, is worried about possible displacement of teachers.

The union wrote:

“…Republicans in the state House rammed through legislation late Thursday night that would dissolve the Buena Vista and Inkster school districts and leave employees in those dissolved districts without the right to a job in the receiving districts.”

Only unionized government employees think they have a right to a job. That’s not the way it works in the real world.

If a private business closes, should employees have a right to a job with a competitor? Of course not. That’s nonsense. But that’s the mindset of government employee unions.

The focus should be on the students and how best to meet their educational needs. Clearly the school employees and elected leaders in the affected districts weren’t getting the job done – otherwise we wouldn’t be reading about them.

Neither the Buena Vista nor the Inkster districts were models of academic success. Perhaps some of the teachers in those districts shouldn’t be in the profession in the first place.

But that doesn’t matter to MEA leaders. All they care about is their members’ privileges, and the dues those members pay when they are employed.

This is just another footnote in the long history of teacher union greed. But it goes a long way toward explaining how some schools got into their financial predicament in the first place. The unions have been dominant in Michigan public schools for decades, and they have nearly succeeded in sucking the financial life out of them.