In AFT, Blog, Legislative Update, Press Release

AFT Michigan and MEA deliver more than 33,000 petition signatures to Snyder and Schuette, calling on them to #StopTheAppeals of 3 percent lawsuit decisions

LANSING — The American Federation of Teachers Michigan and theMichigan Education Association delivered more than 33,000 petition signatures to the offices of Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette today, demanding that they stop wasting taxpayer money appealing court rulings that find school employees are owed $550 million due to an unconstitutional law that took money from their paychecks.

“The longer this case drags on, the more that school employees like myself feel even more dissed, demeaned and devalued by those who were elected to represent us,” said Deborah McMillan, who has taught in Lansing School District for 28 years and is one of the plaintiffs.

“No one goes into education for the money — you do it for the love of kids — yet we at least hope to earn a fair wage, and that’s why I urge Snyder and Schuette to stop obstructing justice and return the money that belongs to thousands of school employees across the state,” said Michelle Cook, who is a preschool teacher in Hamtramck Public Schools.

Both the trial court and the Michigan Court of Appeals have struck down Public Act 75 of 2010 as unconstitutional. PA 75 mandated that all school employees contribute 3 percent of their salary through an involuntary payroll deduction to fund retiree health care — a benefit that they were not guaranteed to receive. The law was in place from 2010 to 2012, and more than $550 million was taken from 200,000 school employees during that time. The money is currently being held in an interest-bearing escrow account pending an outcome to the case, which has been appealed by the state three times already.

“We’ve been fighting this court battle for five years, and Gov. Snyder and Attorney General Schuette should stand up for hardworking school employees, not work against them,” said MEA President Steven Cook. “Michigan school employees — including retirees who are still owed money they have earned — have families to feed, mortgages to pay and college debts to pay off. School employees deserve the return of their hard-earned money now, and we urge the governor and attorney general to stop the appeals and stop the delays.”

“We urge Gov. Snyder and Attorney General Schuette to do the right thing by dropping this case and returning the money that rightfully belongs to hard-working Michigan school employees,” said AFT Michigan President David Hecker. “These appeals have been a complete waste of time and taxpayer resources and are the latest in a long line of continued attacks on school employees. The return of this money could mean thousands of dollars for individual school employees and their families — further delays and appeals are a slap in the face to the people charged with educating our children.”

Hecker and Steven Cook were joined in Lansing today by McMillan, Michelle Cook and other public school employees impacted by the case, who delivered boxes of petition signatures to the Lansing offices of Snyder and Schuette.

By law, Snyder and Schuette have 42 days from the June 14 Court of Appeals decision to appeal the case to the Michigan Supreme Court. That deadline is in mid-July.


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