Tuesday, August 28, 2007

MEA Staff Union trying not to strike.

From the newswire-- I guess Mike Antonucci shouldn't have taken the week off.

MEA unionized employees bargain to avert a strike.

Bargaining continues round-the-clock this week for the unionized employees of the Michigan Education Association (MEA), the Michigan Education Special Services (MESSA), and the Michigan Education Association Financial Services (MEA-FS) to avert a possible strike. The United Staff Organization (USO) represents all six employee unions. The contracts for the employees expire Aug. 31, 2007.

“In the event there is a strike called by one or all of the employee unions, it will not be based on any employee proposals. Any action would be recommended and taken as a response to MEA President Iris Salters’ proposed retirement plan rollbacks,” said Tom Greene, USO president.

MEA management has proposed devastating rollbacks in the staff retirement plan such as a Graded Premium Subsidy for retiree health benefits, the elimination of COLA increases and a reduction in the multiplier used to calculate monthly retirement amounts.

The impact of these proposals goes beyond MEA employees, however. Staff has been continually helping MEA members fight these same proposals from the Legislature.

Greene said, “We find it completely unacceptable that MEA President Salters would propose rollbacks that would gut staff’s current retirement plan. We find it even more unacceptable that she would put her members’ plans in jeopardy too. Our bleak future becomes their bleak future.”

MEA is the largest school employee union in the state. Such a strike by approximately 600 employees would affect services to the more than 160,000 members statewide.

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