Skip to comments.'They Are A Bureaucratic Machine That Got Out of Control' - Teachers bolt from union
Posted on 09/18/2012 9:08:11 AM PDT by MichCapCon
Excessive spending on salaries and politics are among the reasons teachers in the Roscommon Area Public Schools severed ties with the Michigan Education Association, said Jim Perialas, interim president of the new teachers' union.
The MEAs executive salaries, which are among the highest in the country, had angered the teachers, he said.
Perialas said a newly formed local union could provide the same basic services that the MEA provided and for less than half the cost. Perialas said his teachers were facing a dues increase from the MEA this year that would have increased their annual payments from $850 to $960. He said the new independent union will keep dues at about $800 a year for four years so they can build up some reserves, but then the plan is to drop dues to $400.
"We are the customer," Perialas said of the teachers frustrations with the MEA. "They got too greedy. They are a bureaucratic machine that got out of control."
Teachers in the Roscommon Education Association voted Monday 42-22 to decertify from the MEA. The new union will be called the Roscommon Teachers Association.
"We are not anti-union, we are anti-MEA," said Perialas, who served as the chief negotiator for the Roscommon Education Association. "We left the MEA because we sent them a check for $70,000 and we didn't feel we were getting $70,000 a year in services."
MEA executive salaries also were an issue, he said.
"It was huge for us," he said. "We hated it."
In 2011, former MEA President Iris Salters made $235,447, a cut in pay from her 2010 salary of $280,598. Steven Cook, who took over as MEA president when Salters left, made $196,594 in 2011 as the MEA's vice president.
"This is the sales pitch they give teachers: 'For an organization of 157,000 people, our pay is not out of whack,' " Perialas said. "Our response is: 'You have an organization of about 200 people and your revenue stream is 157,000 teachers. You dont run an organization of 157,000 people.' "
The average teacher in the Roscommon district, which is along I-75 south of Grayling, earned $62,312 in 2010-11, according to the Michigan Department of Education.
"It's stuff like that is out of touch," Perialas said.
John Ellsworth, the former president of the Grand Ledge teachers union, said he was "happy and impressed" Roscommon teachers were taking control of their destiny.
"I hope other districts do consider it," Ellsworth said.
However, Ellsworth said he thought few would follow Roscommons lead.
"Teachers do have much to fear in recent legislation and continued attacks, and the MEA makes sure they know it," Ellsworth said.
He said most teachers are focused on the classroom.
"I think most teachers go with the flow, and they do not see much benefit in changing or leaving the MEA," Ellsworth said. "In my view, for a district to leave the MEA, a few trusted teacher leaders have to push for it. And it is rare that local union leaders view the MEA critically. I think the culture and attitude of the MEA, its trainings and its employees, is that of a bunker mentality: it is us versus them. By creating that bunker mentality, critical thinkers who challenge the MEA become the enemy, even if those folks are trying to improve the MEA."
Taxpayer dollars >> Teachers >> Unions >> Democrat politicians
Money quote/point: ‘You have an organization of about 200 people and your revenue stream is 157,000 teachers. You dont run an organization of 157,000 people.’
Now if only all unions would get that message handed to them.
Too little, too late. The MEA is going to descend upon them like a pack of wolves for this. Expect much political and union retribution in the near future.
I was in an independent union for a while. The UAW and AFL-CIO took turns picketing us. LOL
They just got themselves a 960 dollar a year raise.
THAT IS a big raise.
Same happened to us and it got ugly. Some of them got hurt though.
Often wondered what happened to those fellows from MN.
We never had any problems but the picketers had a very limited public space to use and two armed guards at the gate. We also parked around the backside of the building in a big courtyard type of space.
They didn’t have anything to offer that was worth the restrictions that would be placed on us by the company if we accepted a troublemaking big union. We didn’t make as much but we had good PHP insurance, a good working relationship with the company and most important, each employee was an individual and could work out extra sick time or other time off with the company. We did have scale pay which I hated.
Yeah, the big players don’t like the competition. I had to join the IBEW to work at my current job. If I had a choice, I would have opted out of having to pay a hundred bucks a month to a bunch of !@#$%^&*(). But when you work in a closed shop state, there’s no real alternative.
After we got rid of the AFL-CIO we actually got more pay. We got a profit sharing plan in place as a result and we made as much as 500 bucks a month in bonuses and over 2 grand at the end of the year. Of course, the corporation hated it but since the plan included managers and all, they went along. A portion of the bonus plan would go to benefits and still we got good payouts.
The place ran so smooth it was unreal. Funny thing was that some of the slackers became good workers-the rest left.
Well, I doubt they’d turn down a 16% raise and strike.
I am glad they are beginning to “get it”, but forming a new union will not solve the systematic problem, just restart the clock.
Right to work may well come to Michigan, but it will be too little, too late. Too many skilled and technical people have left the state, including myself. I grew up during the rise and fall of the auto industry, and had to suffer through it. It was either feast or famine, no in between. Michigan, along with all of the other rust belt states, have turned their backs to industry, and now they’re paying for it.