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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Mar 20th 2010, 06:38 PM
For a long time many of us have seen the writing on the wall...that experienced teachers who worked their way to higher salaries would be paying the price for the dismantlement of public education.

We could see it starting even before I retired. There was resentment building from leadership in the schools to any of us who were on continuing contracts. It was pretty obvious also. They did not even try to hide their contempt.

Get rid of the experienced teachers, the new ones are easier to manipulate.

New teachers are so much cheaper, no experience needed.

Union says retirement incentives unfair


BAY CITY, Mich. - Teachers union officials in Bay City say that a proposal to cut off vision and dental benefits of long-term teachers who don't retire by Oct. 1 is unfair, according to The Bay City Times. Kevin Stapish of the Bay City Education Association told The Times that, "It is wrong to choose between early retirement and the benefits they've been promised and are looking forward to."

The proposal by Gov. Jennifer Granholm offers about 46,000 public employees — 39,000 of them teachers — a pension boost if they have worked at least 30 years and agree to retire by October, according to the report.

By replacing them with fewer employees, who would earn beginning wages, the Granholm administration estimated the state could save up to $450 million, The Times reported.

Those who do not retire by October would lose dental and vision benefits upon retirement and would begin contributing an additional 3 percent to their retirement fund, according to The Times. Newly hired teachers would have to pay a minimum of 20 percent toward their health care premiums."

That is just the beginning of what Michigan is doing to teachers in public schools with experience.

The Detroit News reported teachers were being asked to agree to a $250 pre-tax deduction from 40 biweekly paychecks starting in January to fund the loan.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) has not been much of a leader in working people’s organizations but this might be about to change. The main concern of the union over the years has been to basically protect the bloated salaries and privileges of the trade union executives, like Keith Johnson, the pathetic president of DFT. In fact, union executives have been openly working with the school authorities in Detroit to force hundreds, if not thousands, of experienced teachers to retire, so they can be replaced by a low-wage instructors, forced to work in charter schools without the slightest rights or input on how children are taught nor any control over curriculum or the day to day running of the schools.

In return for this largess and sell-out support, the DFT has been given assurances from their president, Keith Johnson, and his executives, that it will continue to collect dues income from teachers, and will participate in the myriad joint labor-management committees to police teachers. This is all a part of the Obama/Duncan Race to the Top. Sound familiar? Sure it does, it is magically growing like a fungus all over the nation, as you know if you have been following the saga

The last year’s tentative three-year contract between Detroit Public Schools and its teachers union included the district essentially getting up to $10,000 in interest-free and un-secured loans to be funded by each of Detroit’s educators for forty weeks. The Detroit News reported teachers were being asked to agree to a $250 pre-tax deduction from 40 biweekly paychecks starting in January to fund the loan. Teachers would get the $10,000 back once they leave. It’s called the grotesquely labeled, Termination Incentive Plan (Associated Press, December 6, 2009)

I am not sure of the final outcome of this, but the teachers began fighting back.

On January 14th, 2010 teachers finally refused to accept the economic blackmail of city, state and their employees and Detroit Federation of Teacher (DFT) members voted overwhelmingly on this date to relieve their current president, Keith Johnson, from his duties as DFT president until a recall vote is taken at the February 11th, 2010 membership meeting. The membership also voted for the DFT to join a lawsuit against the $250 million dollar TIP “loan” and to seek an injunction stopping any further forced deductions from their checks. They also committed to stand strong in the fight to defend their living standards and the right of their students to a quality education; the teachers are taking a stand for all working people.

The mass opposition of teachers and their courageous vote in these difficult economic times against the concessions contract signed by the Detroit Federation of Teachers and the Detroit Public Schools, deserves the full support of all working people.
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