Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Attacks on your future!

Two things that we need to take action on;

#1 We have received word that the full Senate intends to discharge SB 1046 and SJR P (Senate Joint Resolution) from the Reform Committee to the full Senate. SB 1046 is the bill limiting public employers to paying no more than 80% of health care premiums for employees. SJR P is a proposed constitutional amendment to authorize the State to do this.

#2 Yesterday, the Retirement sub-committee of the Senate Appropriations Committee moved the school employee retirement bill, SB 1227 to the full Appropriations Committee with some changes. We expect the full Appropriations Committee to move it to the floor of the Senate for fast action either today or tomorrow.

As it now stands, the bill provides:
1. The increased pension multiplier for folks who retire between July 1 and September 1, 2010 IS ELIMINATED AS IN GONE, KAPUT, NULLIFIED. In this version of the Senate bill, there is not a sweetener to get people to retire early.
2. The punitive elimination of dental and vision coverage for those who retire after September 1, 2010 is still in the bill.
3. The outrageous increase of 3% of salary to pay for the mismanagement and under funding of the pension by the State is still in the bill.
4. The cap of 30 years on earned service credit is still in the bill.
5. The “hybrid” pension plan for new hires is still in the bill although the Senate version changes the minimum retirement age in the plan to 60 (the Governor proposed the age at 65).

Make the calls and send the e-mails today. Focus on your state Senator for now.

Senator Wayne Kuipers – 517-373-6920 (Ottawa county)

Senator Patricia Birkholz – 517-373-3447 (Allegan county)

Representative David Agema – 517-373-8900 (Coopersville/Jenison)

Representative Joe Haveman – 517-373-0830 (Holland/Zeeland/Hudsonville)

Representative Arlan Meekhof – 517-373-0838 (Rest of Ottawa County)

Representative Bob Genetski- 373-0836 (District 88, Saugatuck)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A message from MEA's team at the Capitol

A message from MEA’s team at the Capitol:

Thank you for your calls and other efforts on the retirement legislation today -- thanks to your speedy action in contacting your state representatives, the House will not be taking up the shell bills this afternoon.

Because of our collective actions, we stopped the House from rushing to judgment on a bad idea that would impact thousands of our members across the state.

The fight is not done -- lawmakers will be back at it next week. You can stop the urgent calls on the shell bills, but please continue contacting all our leaders in Lansing -- the governor, your senator and your representative.

Keep telling them that the retirement proposal put forth in HB 5953 is wrong for our state because it forces dedicated school employees to retire before they’re ready while continuing to balance the budget on the backs of working families. Enough is enough! It’s time for real, balanced solutions to our decade-long budget crisis -- not more games and gimmicks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tell Lansing what you think of the attack on your retirement

Call your state senator and representative & the Governor today

On Jan. 29, Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced yet another attack on public workers, this time calling on school employees to pay even more out of pocket for retirement and pushing veteran teachers and other educators to retire before they're ready. This "reform" is really just another gimmick that won't actually fix the state's antiquated tax structure and broken school funding system.

Her proposals were finally introduced as legislation last week. Now is the time to make sure your state senator and representative, as well as the governor, know your feelings on this latest scheme to balance the budget on your back.

Take a moment to pick up your cell or home phone or send an e-mail Share your thoughts -- here are some ideas to start with:

  • Withdraw this most recent attack on half a million Michigan public employees and their families.
    • It's wrong to put a special tax on public employees -- taking 3 percent out of their checks to run government is the definition of a tax.
    • It's wrong to force people to choose between early retirement and losing benefits they've counted on.
  • Reject the flawed concept that continuing to take from public employees will fix our broken tax structure.
  • Show real leadership and call for implementing a balanced solution that doesn't ignore the need for more revenue.

Take time to make this important contact -- now is the time for every HEA member to stand together and tell our leaders in Lansing that it's time for real solutions, not more games and gimmicks.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Holland Teachers Deliver Excellent Instruction

Holland teachers deliver excellent instruction. Instruction doesn't always take place in a classroom or in front of a chalk board but often before and after school, in the hallways between classes or evenings at community events. Here are more examples of that "excellent" instruction we deliver every day.

  • Compiled Christmas boxes
  • Various activity nights
  • Homework clubs
  • Jungle Party helpers
  • Ski Clubs and trips
  • Taking students to community events such as Hope basketball games
  • Girls on the Run coaching
  • Total Trek coaching
  • Book fairs
  • Parent nights
  • March is Reading Month
  • Kindergarten parent workshops
Keep coming back, our list is growing every day.