Memo proves that Michigan college purposefully helped unions skirt right-to-work law

Mar 27, 2013 by

CLINTON, Mich. – Apparently some Michigan colleges are willing to risk a lot of money to defend the traditions of organized labor.

Across the state, labor unions have approached college boards about extending or negotiating new collective bargaining agreements to beat the state’s “right-to-work” law, which goes into effect March 28.

The law says nobody can be forced to join a union, or pay any type of union dues, to secure and maintain employment. But unions with collective bargaining agreements in place before that date are immune from the law until the contracts expire.

Many college unions have been seeking long-term deals to keep their members trapped for as long as 10 years.

Macomb Community College gave in to such a union demand, and a memo from its president proves it. The community college board last week approved four renegotiated union contracts, including one that was just negotiated four months ago, according to a report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Three of the contracts expire in 2018. The fourth expires in 2016.

“Many unions are asking that public employees extend existing contracts for 10 years so as to avoid the impact of the new law,” MCC President Jim Jacobs wrote in a memo. “Macomb has been approached by all our unions, acting through the AFT (American Federation of Teachers), to extend all of our current collective bargaining agreements by 10 years.

“The college was willing to consider entering into full negotiations with each union as to wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment.”

The MCC board’s decision to cooperate with the unions – even though they didn’t grant the full 10-year extensions – could prove to be expensive.

Republican state lawmakers, who pushed through the right-to-work law, are considering legislation that would cut state appropriations for colleges and universities that enter into new collective bargaining agreements with their unions before the law changes, if the new contracts do not result in financial savings for the colleges.

It seems obvious that the new MCC contracts will not save money, since they include wage increases and step-pay increases that had been previously frozen.

“I think based on the potential effect this might have on their appropriations, Macomb Community College officials should be concerned,” state Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, was quoted as saying. “The legislation that applies to community colleges holds them accountable in the same way that universities would be held accountable.”

Apparently the MCC board has few concerns about money. It’s willing to hand out unscheduled raises, and risk the loss of state revenue, just to make sure its labor unions maintain their ability to collect union dues from every employee for the next 10 years.

In the end it probably won’t hurt the college at all. It will just hike tuition and other student fees to pay for its massive financial giveaway to the unions.

via Memo proves that Michigan college purposefully helped unions skirt right-to-work law – :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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