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  • MEA-Retired Bd of Director Meeting Jan 17, 2017

  • MEA President, Paula Herbart, speaks at the MEA-Retired Bd of Director Meeting, Jan 10, 2017

  • Election Committee

  • MEA-Retired Officers

  • Bob and Jo Bird at President's Conclave Nov 9

Come Meet Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Paul Herbart, and Gretchen Whitmer

Feb 12, 2018

Meet and Greet with Whitmer & NEA President

Many MEA members and leaders got their first close-up look at Gretchen Whitmer, MEA’s recommended gubernatorial candidate, at last week’s Bargaining, Public Affairs & Professional Development conference.  Now it’s your turn.  
Whitmer will be joined by MEA President Paula Herbart and NEA President Lily Eskelsen García at a meet and greet tomorrow, Tuesday Feb. 13, from 3-5 p.m. at MEA’s Plymouth office. RSVP for the event here.

Kevin Grammens, a teacher in Anchor Bay School District for 20 years, said “It was a relief” to hear Whitmer commit to supporting educators and investing in public education during her keynote address at MEA’s biggest conference of the year at Detroit’s Cobo Center.  “It was inspiring to hear from someone who’s going to back up students and teachers,” Grammens said.

Amy Graham, a teacher from Wayland Union Schools, called Whitmer’s speech invigorating. “I’m ready for change and excited by her enthusiasm,” Graham said.

In a personal speech touching on her beliefs and motivations, Whitmer pledged support of public education as the “backbone of our economy.” The first woman to be chosen as Democratic leader in the state Senate, Whitmer is the daughter and granddaughter of educators and a former county prosecutor.

She has fought tough battles in her political career, including fighting diversions of money from the School Aid Fund and voting against the law that allowed the state to illegally seize 3 percent of school employees’ wages to pay for retiree health care.  

“It is time for us to start setting the agenda again,” she told the conference crowd last Thursday. “It is time for a governor who cares about the work that you do, recognizes how important it is, and empowers the people on the front line.”

Conference goers were asked to submit their education priorities to Whitmer in writing after the conference. All MEA members can share their education policy ideas with Whitmer through this Action Network page.

With so much at stake in the 2018 election, NOW is the time to get excited and involved.  Please RSVP now to meet Gretchen, Lily and Paula and learn how you can help us win for public education this year.  

 

Lifetime NEA/MEA Members will be Able to Vote on Tuesday February 6th

Feb 05, 2018

MEA's on-line voting polls became functional, Tuesday, February 6, 2018, MEA-Retired members may cast their ballots for MEA-Retired delegates to the MEA Representative Assembly, the NEA Representative Assembly, and the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting as well as Region Directors, if needed.

On-line voting will begin at 8 a.m. EST on February 6, 2018 and will continue until 4 p.m. February 16, 2018.

HERE'S HOW: You can use any computer with internet access-your own computer, your neighbor's, your grandchildren's or one at your local library.  

1.   Go to the MEA website at www.mymea.org/onlinevoting

2.   Follow the Login instructions:

First Name (often your legal first name)         

Last Name

Last four digits of your social security number 

 3.  Click the "Login" button.

4.   If your record is found and the polls are open, your ballot will be displayed.

5.   Select the people for whom you wish to vote. Clicking the "Additional Info" link next to a ballot item will allow you to read biographical information on the candidate if it has been submitted.

6.  Once you have made your selections, click the "Confirm Ballot" button.

7.     A preview of your ballot selections will be shown. To modify any of your selections, click the "Modify Ballot" button.

8.   To cast your ballot, click the "Cast Ballot" button. Once your ballot is cast, you will see a confirmation page. 

9.   Click the "Sign Out" link to log out of the system.

If you have any problems using the MEA Online Voting application, please contact the MEA IT Department at 517-337-5440 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you call after hours, please leave a voicemail and personnel will return your message as soon as possible.

MEA questions interest amounts in retiree health repayments from state

Jan 25, 2018

Detroit Free Press, January 24, 2018
"The Michigan Education Association wants teachers and other school employees to receive more interest from the $550 million the state improperly deducted from their paychecks from 2010 to 2012 to help fund retiree health care.

Teachers last week began receiving emails from the Michigan Office of Retirement Services notifying them how much money they would receive. Almost immediately, there were complaints about how much interest was included. In one instance, a teacher receiving $5,400 back is getting nearly $43 in interest.

For the most part, the interest received is less than one percent of what was deducted from teacher paychecks. The MEA, in the motion it plans to file, is seeking the Michigan statutory interest rate, which is 2.9%, said Doug Pratt, spokesman for the MEA.

"We strongly believe that our members deserve more interest than the meager amounts that have been communicated to them," Pratt said. He said that's based "on the fact that this money should have been theirs for the last seven years.""  To read the entire article click here.  Detroit Free Press, January 24, 2018

Charter School Money Grab Approved by House

Jan 21, 2018

The state House yesterday narrowly approved a controversial measure that would give money from voter-approved enhancement millages to for-profit charter schools. SB 574 now returns to the Senate for a final vote. 

"This bill is forcing public dollars into unaccountable for-profit charter schools, pushed by corporate special interest backers like Betsy DeVos," MEA President Paula Herbart said in a statement released after the vote. "Voters should be able to use regional enhancement millages to ensure their neighborhood schools have the funds necessary to provide a quality education for their children."
This change to school funding is opposed by numerous school groups and many parents, who argue that 90 percent of Michigan school children attend traditional public schools, which are held to higher standards of financial transparency and performance.

About 83 percent of Michigan charter schools are for-profit entities with no elected representation or public oversight in how tax dollars are spent - which means no guarantee additional public money would benefit students instead of furthering corporate profits. 

"Communities who choose to pay more to help their schools shouldn't have to see their hard-earned tax money pad the bottom line of for-profit charter companies," Herbart said.

MEA Updates Frequently Asked Questions in the 3% Case

Jan 14, 2018

December 20th, marked a major victory for Michigan school employees, as the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously ruled to return more than a half billion dollars illegally taken from school employees in the long-running 3 percent case.
 
In a dramatic December conclusion to a nearly 8-year-long legal battle, the Court ruled 6-0 to uphold lower court rulings that found the withholding to be illegal on a variety of constitutional grounds.
 
“I cannot imagine a better pre-holiday gift to Michigan’s school employees than getting their hard-earned money returned to them,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “This is the culmination of years of work by both AFT Michigan and MEA on behalf of our members.  This reinforces why being a member of a union matters – working collectively, we won this case that no individual could have fought for themselves.”

MEA General Council, Michael Shoudy, has updated a set of Frequently Asked Questions to assist members who have questions in regards to the 3% refund.  Please click here to review these FAQ's.

MEA-RETIRED ON-LINE VOTING INSTRUCTIONS

Jan 06, 2018

Beginning February 5, 2018, MEA-Retired members will begin casting their ballots for MEA-Retired delegates to the MEA Representative Assembly, the NEA Representative Assembly, and the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting, as well as Region Directors, if needed.

ON-LINE VOTING WILL BEGIN ON FEBRUARY 5, 2018 AT 8 AM EST AND WILL CONTINUE UNTIL 4 PM EST ON FEBRUARY 16, 2018.    For specific voting instructions click here.

If you are interested in receiving a paper ballot you will need to fill out the form below and return it to Dan Rudd c/o MEA-Retired, 1216 Kendale Blvd, PO Box 2573, East Lansing, MI   48826-2573.  The request MUST be postmarked no later than January 8, 2018.  Please use the address you will be at after December 31, 2017.

Michigan Supreme Court unanimously rules to return 3% to school employees / FAQ's

Dec 20, 2017

December 20th, marked a major victory for Michigan school employees, as the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously ruled to return more than a half billion dollars illegally taken from school employees in the long-running 3 percent case.
 
In a dramatic December conclusion to a nearly 8-year-long legal battle, the Court ruled 6-0 to uphold lower court rulings that found the withholding to be illegal on a variety of constitutional grounds.
 
“I cannot imagine a better pre-holiday gift to Michigan’s school employees than getting their hard-earned money returned to them,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “This is the culmination of years of work by both AFT Michigan and MEA on behalf of our members.  This reinforces why being a member of a union matters – working collectively, we won this case that no individual could have fought for themselves.”

MEA General Council, Michael Shoudy, has developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions to assist members who have questions in regards to the 3% refund.  Please click here to review these FAQ's.

Logistics will need to be determined for how school employees will receive the refund of over $550 million that’s been held in escrow since 2010-2012, but today’s ruling ends a long string of unsuccessful appeals by Governor Rick Snyder and – until this final appeal – Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Anyone who worked in Michigan schools in the affected time period from 2010-12, and had the 3 percent taken from their paychecks, will get money returned. We do not have information about how or when that will happen at this time. For more information, visit MEA’s 3 percent FAQ page.

Make sure MEA has your home email address so we can keep you up to date on developments about when and how money will be returned—Email webmaster@mea.org with your information.
 
“We hope the governor and attorney general work with us – as opposed to their years of fighting us – to ensure employees get their money returned to them in a timely fashion,” said AFT Michigan President David Hecker. “Michigan’s school employees have waited eight long years to get their hard-earned money returned to them – no futher delay is necessary.”

 

Beware Calley’s “part-time legislature” petition

Dec 19, 2017

MEA Capitol Comments

Among the flood of holiday cards hitting your mailbox, you may have received an envelope from Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley about a proposal for a part-time legislature that he’s championing.

This is one holiday message you should be sure to ignore.

In an effort to jumpstart his campaign for governor, Lt. Gov. Calley has been pushing this measure for months that would restrict the legislature to meet for just 90 days prior to April 15 each year. Their latest attempt to collect the needed signatures was to mail out petitions to thousands of Michigan voters – including some MEA members.

At a glance, this measure might seem appealing to school employees who’ve been subject to years of political attacks, but this petition is a classic wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Among the reasons you should decline to sign this petition are:

  • Restricting the role and timing of the Legislature puts an immense amount of power in the hands of the governor, who’ll be around for the balance of the year when the Legislature is gone. Despite the losses of the last 7 years, imagine how much worse it could have been if Gov. Snyder had even more power to enact his agenda!
  • Only working for 90 days greatly restricts who can run for the Legislature, eliminating those without personal wealth or an employer willing to provide that flexibility.  For example, school employees would be unable to run unless their district were willing to fill behind them with a long-term substitute every year.  In states that currently have part-time legislatures, companies ensure legislators have jobs to go back to in exchange for supporting their legislative priorities.
  • Tying part-time legislator pay to half of the state’s average teacher pay is a devious ploy to attract your support. The fact is, dragging down legislator pay and benefits – which have already been reduced in recent years – won’t do anything to raise compensation for school employees. Furthermore, we shouldn’t be restricting the time and money we spend as a state on making important education policy decisions.  

These are just a few of the many reasons to NOT sign this part-time legislature petition.

Calley and his allies have sent out tens of thousands of petitions in this recent mailing, attempting to get to the number of signatures needed to qualify their measure for the ballot.  Don’t help them – Decline to Sign the Part-Time Legislature petition!

 

How are decisions about MPSERS Health Coverage Made?

Dec 12, 2017

"Most retirees think the plan changes come from union negotiations or from insurance vendors, but this isn't the case. Insurance vendors selected through a competitive bidding process administer their part of your health care coverage, but they don't make any decisions about the plan benefits, coinsurance, deductibles, co-payments, or out-of-pocket maximum amounts. Unlike the benefit plan you had as an employee of Michigan public schools, your retiree health care benefits and costs are decided by the Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System board of directors with guidance from ORS benefit specialists and external health care benefit and actuarial consultants.

The board of directors is comprised of 12 members: 11 members represent active and retired public school employees and one represents state government. Keeping your health plan sustainable in the current health care environment is a serious responsibility to which the board of directors, ORS, and all of our vendors are committed. Every dollar spent on retiree health care coverage comes directly from public school budgets. The board's goal is to maintain a quality health care plan that is affordable to both the retirees and the schools. That's a challenging task given continuously rising health care costs. And yet, the board has been greatly successful. Over the years, the board has approved the addition of numerous benefits such as routine physicals, disease management programs, medication management programs, and the Living Well program, while keeping overall cost increases less than three percent. The ORS and the board of directors will continue to work on your behalf."  Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Best of Health

Six Ways to Take Action This Weekend

Nov 21, 2017

Six Ways to Take Action This Weekend
Capitol Comments / MEA

After the Lions football and turkey with trimmings, in between holiday shopping and Christmas decorating, take a few minutes over this long Thanksgiving weekend to raise your voice in defense of public education – an institution we’re all thankful for.

Here are six ways to get involved in the fight to preserve and protect great public schools for all children:  Please click on the links and take Action. 

Give Input on Race for Governor

Contact State Reps – No Guns in Schools!

Speak Up About GOP Tax Plans

Join the Opposition to School Millage Diversion to Charters

Oppose Weakening of Teacher Certification

Add Your Input to MEA Legislation Priorities

Have a Great Thanksgiving Holiday

Labor Voices: Cyber Charters are Failed Experiment

Nov 18, 2017

In Wednesday’s Labor Voices column in The Detroit News, MEA President Paula Herbart called for an end to the failed cyber charter school experiment in Michigan.
 
Clear evidence shows that Michigan's expansion of cyber charter schools has been an abject failure, yet our state's lawmakers continue to fully fund these for-profit online ventures at the same level as traditional neighborhood schools, which have higher operating costs.
 
Herbart writes in the column: “Here in Michigan, legislators continue to ignore the poor academic achievement of cyber schools and pour millions into this failed experiment. Even Gov. Snyder recognized that funding for cyber charters needed to be scaled back when he proposed in last year’s education budget that they receive only 80 percent of normal per-pupil funding — acknowledging that cyber charters have a fraction of the overhead that traditional brick and mortar schools face.

“Unfortunately, the Legislature rejected the governor’s proposal — but many from both parties in Lansing are hoping he pushes again for this change next year.” Read the full column.

MPSERS Out-of-State Fall Seminar Locations

Nov 10, 2017

Dates

Location

Venue

November 8

Scottsdale, AZ

Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River

5201 N. Pima Rd.

Scottsdale, AZ 85250

November 9

Tucson, AZ

Hilton Garden Inn Tucson Airport

6575 S. Country Club Road

Tucson, AZ 85758

December 4

Ocala, FL

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Ocala Conference Center

3600 SW 38th Ave

Ocala, FL 34474

December 5

Tampa, FL

Sheraton Tampa East Hotel

10221 Princess Palm Ave.

Tampa, FL 33610

December 6

Sarasota, FL

Holiday Inn Sarasota Airport

8009 15th St. E.

Sarasota, FL 34243

December 7

Fort Myers, FL

Holiday Inn Airport at Town Center

9931 Interstate Commerce Drive

Fort Myers, FL 33913

BREAKING: Senate to consider bills allowing concealed guns in schools

Nov 07, 2017

Yesterday evening, we received word that the State Senate would be considering a package of bills this week that would allow concealed weapons in gun-free zones like schools or churches.
                                                                               
MEA strongly opposes this legislation for the safety of students and school employees alike, and has been part of a coalition fighting similar legislation for several years. 
 
The answer to gun violence is not more guns in schools – in fact, it’s a recipe for disaster.  Making it legal to conceal a pistol in a preschool is a tragedy waiting to happen, regardless of the training concealed weapon holders undergo. 
 
Instead of these bills, the Legislature should simply close the controversial legal loophole allowing open-carry of guns in schools and make gun-free zones truly gun free.
 
Call your State Senator TODAY and urge them to vote NO on SBs 584-586.  Tell your Senator that – as an educator – you want fewer guns in school, not more.  We’re hearing the Senate plans to rush this legislation through before the hunting break, so urgent action is needed.

Tuesday Night Vigils Nov 7th Bring your flashlight

Nov 04, 2017

From AFT and MEA

Tuesday Night Vigils

What: On the night before the Michigan Supreme Court hearing, education employees will gather at locations through out the state for Flashlight Vigils to "Shine a Light" on the 3% case.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 7th @ 5:30 p.m. Click here to sign-up for attendance!

Where: View Map.

Why: On the night before the Michigan Supreme Court hearing, school employees will gather at locations through out the state for Flashlight Vigils to "Shine a Light" on the 3% case. These events will ensure the Supreme Court Justices and the public can see the faces of dedicated education employees who are owed more than $550 million.

Who: Education employees as well as those who support the hard working women and men that educate our students

What: Bring your flashlights to shine the light

Click here to sign-up for attendance!

If you haven’t yet ensured your vigil is online on the event website, please check now at https://www.actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/3-percent-vigils. If you need a quick primer on how to set up an event on the site, you can watch this quick video at https://youtu.be/Mo9YtYrbynI.

Vote Expected on School Millage Diversion to Charters

Nov 02, 2017

A bill that would give money from school enhancement millages to for-profit charter schools is expected to get a vote in a state House committee tomorrow—contact your representatives today, and encourage parents and community members to get involved. 

Your calls and emails have started to make a difference. Changes to SB 574 are planned that would only give money to online cyber schools that show 80 percent of students live in the enhancement district’s boundaries. Another expected change would ensure the bill does not apply retroactively to existing millages. 

Overall, this controversial change to school funding is opposed by numerous school groups and many parents, who argue that 90 percent of Michigan school children attend traditional public schools, which are held to higher standards of financial transparency and performance.

About 83 percent of Michigan charter schools are for-profit entities with no elected representation or public oversight in how tax dollars are spent – which means no guarantee additional public money would benefit students instead of furthering corporate profits. 

Charter schools come and go—sometimes closing without notice.

While many privately managed operators of for-profit charter schools do not divulge executive pay levels, the CEO of nationwide cyber giant K-12, Inc., reportedly makes $16 million per year.

Meanwhile, overall public school funding in Michigan remains below pre-recession levels, and several recent studies and reports have found the state’s education spending to be inadequate. Enhancement millages are regional tax levies approved by voters within a region and administered by intermediate school districts. 

The House Education Reform Committee plans to vote on SB 574 tomorrow. 

Contact your representative today, and urge public school supporters in your community to take a moment and make their voices heard.

House Votes for a Budget that Will Lead to Massive Medicare and Medicaid Cuts

Oct 29, 2017

MEA-Retired is a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans. We support their policies and activism. Please click on this link to sign up to receive their Friday Alerts and take part in this ACTION to send a message to Washington. Thank you!


House Votes for a Budget that Will Lead to Massive Medicare and Medicaid Cuts While Providing Tax Breaks for the Wealthy

The U.S. House voted 216-212 on Thursday (10/26/17)  to pass the same destructive 2018 budget that the U.S. Senate approved last week. Representatives did not offer any amendments to the resolution. See how your rep voted - click here.

The budget will lead to cuts of nearly $500 billion from Medicare and more than $1 trillion from Medicaid over the next 10 years, and paves the way for massive tax breaks for the rich. It will also add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit.

"The government's disregard for citizens, particularly older Americans, is palpable in this budget. Gutting much-needed safety nets for average Americans so that billionaires and corporations can line their pockets is beyond cruel," said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance.

With passage of the 2018 budget, Republican leaders say this will turn to so-called tax "reform." House Republicans will release their tax bill on November 1, but some details have already emerged, and many middle class taxpayers will pay more. Click to see how families in your state may be affected.

Join the National Call-in Day November 2 - No Tax Breaks for the Wealthy

With the unveiling of the Republican tax bill set for November 1, and a U.S. House vote that could happen as early as November 13, the time to call your representative now.

 CLICK HERE to sign up to be part of the Alliance's call in day on November 2 and they will send you talking points and a reminder to make your voice heard.

Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between

Oct 24, 2017

“The U.S. retirement age is rising, as the government pushes it higher and workers stay in careers longer.

But lifespans aren’t necessarily extending to offer equal time on the beach. Data released last week suggest Americans’ health is declining and millions of middle-age workers face the prospect of shorter, and less active, retirements than their parents enjoyed.

Here are the stats: The U.S. age-adjusted mortality rate—a measure of the number of deaths per year—rose 1.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Society of Actuaries. That’s the first year-over-year increase since 2005, and only the second rise greater than 1 percent since 1980.”  Read More 
 

Bloomberg.com


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