Pavlov, Republicans introduce bills to defend school kids in Detroit, toughen state’s anti-strike laws

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Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — State Sens. Phil Pavlov, Joe Hune, and David Robertson introduced legislation on Thursday to strengthen Michigan’s anti-strike laws, following months of illegal teacher “sick outs” in the Detroit Public Schools.

“When thousands of children are denied valuable instructional time and their parents are left scrambling to ensure they’re cared for because their schools have been shut down by teachers refusing to work, that’s a strike and it’s illegal,” said Pavlov, R–St. Clair Township. “For months, Steve Conn and the Detroit teachers union have broken the law and hurt Detroit’s children. If our current state law isn’t sufficient to prevent activists from hurting kids, it’s time we strengthen it.”

Senate Bills 713, 714 and 715:

•    Simplify the process for declaring an illegal strike, providing shorter deadlines for the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) and others to act;
•    Allow joint or aggregate hearings for teachers accused of illegally striking;
•    Give the state Superintendent of Public Education authority to enforce penalties following an illegal strike;
•    Impose stricter penalties on those who violate the law, including larger fines, potential decertification for teachers, and decertification for teachers unions organizing strikes; and
•    Impose fines for school districts that don’t comply with MERC rulings to enforce penalties against teachers who illegally strike.

“Children in Detroit deserve better than they’re getting from striking teachers in Detroit,” said Hune, R–Hamburg. “When you realize that more than 30,000 students have missed classroom time because the local union is more interested in playing politics than educating kids, it becomes clear that it’s time for a change.”

Said Robertson, R–Grand Blanc: “We’ve got to remember what our state’s education system is all about — educating our kids. Parents know that. The vast majority of teachers in Michigan know that. These reforms will make union activists breaking the law in Detroit know it, too.”

SBs 713 – 715 have been referred to the Senate Education Committee.