Since the fierce Republican reaction to the Detroit sickout, the word from Lansing is that if any more of this kind of thing happens elsewhere in the state, the legislature will repeal PERA.
PERA, the Public Employee Relations Act, is the statute that makes collective bargaining mandatory in Michigan. This has always been a Mackinac Center target as it puts the administration and its employees on equal footing. Without it, bargaining would be permissive, and the other side could just tell you to take a hike.
What would happen if PERA were repealed and bargaining was no longer mandatory? Look to Texas, where staffers can’t bargain, they are only allowed to engage in what’s charitably called “Meet and Confer.” From a Texas school district website:
The same kind of sham input is going on in Wisconsin. After Republican Governor Scott Walker pushed through a law banning bargaining in 2011, school staff get just 5 minutes to plead for better healthcare:
This is how it works in many states. In six states, collective bargaining is illegal, the law actually prohibits it. In 11 states, it’s permissive, meaning the employees want to but, in all but a very few cases, management refuses. In the rest of the country both sides have to bargain:
The Mackinac Center has been pushing for the repeal of PERA for years. It knows that losing the right to bargain guts the very heart of what it is to be a union, and when it’s lost, union membership nosedives.
Which is the whole point. With the MEA out of the way, the field would be clear to turning the public schools over to the corporations.