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The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Michigan Education Association To Back Snyder Recall Efforts

A2P Notes: This is filed under “Scoops & Scores” because you read it here first!

Michigan Education Association spokesman Doug Pratt told A2Politico recently via email that the MEA was not endorsing the citizen-led efforts to recall Governor Rick Snyder and as many as 20 Republican lawmakers. That was before the passage of  House Bills 4625-4628—what MEA’s leaders obviously consider a frontal assault on teacher tenure, the middle-class, and the union’s 153,000 members. On July 1, 2011 at 12:39 p.m., the MEA announced on its own web site that it was joining the fray. In a release titled, “Tipping Point: House Bills 4625-4628: next step is recall of out-of-touch legislators,” MEA officials made it crystal clear that the organization intends to put its muscle behind the recall efforts:

Votes by lawmakers to take collective bargaining rights from public employees and make sweeping changes to teacher tenure will fuel grassroots efforts by voters in many communities who question whether their elected leaders deserve to remain in office.

With independent recall efforts already underway in many state House districts and against Gov. Rick Snyder, MEA will now get involved in many of those voter-led initiatives.

To date, MEA has not endorsed those efforts, though many members have chosen individually to get involved.

Our elected leaders need to know that we will not sit idly by as they try to dismantle public education, destroy the middle class, and defeat MEA and other public sector unions!

MEA will also consider supporting recall efforts of some senators.

More information about the next steps will be available soon, so stay tuned. You may be on break for the summer, but you must be engaged more than ever – for your students, your school, your community, and your profession!

The statement is a clarion cry to the organization’s members that the Michigan Education Association’s leadership is ready to take on Republican Governor Rick Snyder. The recall effort against Snyder, begun officially in April, was recently declared “deader than a door nail” by FOX 2 political consultant Tim Skubick. On June 24th, Skubick wrote:

Here’s an up to the minute update on the effort to recall Gov. Rick Snyder.

There is no update.

The good folks running this thing have clamped a cone of silence on the effort.

“We’re doing very well,” is the only comment one of the organizers would volunteer when asked how many signatures had been collected.

Does that mean they have ten thousand names or ten?

They ain’t saying.

Now the cynic might conclude, they obviously won’t release the number because it is so pitiful. To reveal it would indicate that the recall effort is deader than a door nail and that would erase any hope of gathering one million names by August 5th.

Twice Michigan Public Radio’s Jack Lessenberry has published essays that have called into question whether a recall effort against Rick Snyder can succeed. In the first essay, Lessenberry published factual errors, including this one, which Lessenberry pointedly refused to correct: “Michigan Citizens United can’t legally start collecting signatures till July 1st.” Then Lessenberry writes: “They would need a $1.5 million, at a minimum, to have a prayer.”

Well, it could be on July 1, 2011 their prayers were answered. The MEA has money, a PR machine that is virtually unparalleled in the state, and more importantly, a 150,000 member army that union leaders are adept at mobilizing during political campaigns. The final sentence of the MEA’s July 1 statement hints at this. Imagine 25,000 volunteers with nothing but summer time on their hands collecting signatures to recall Governor Rick Snyder and 20 Republicans in the Michigan House and Senate. Suddenly, the odds of collecting the 1.1 million signatures necessary to put the question of whether to recall Snyder on the ballot become much better. With 25,000 people collecting signatures, that’s just 44 signatures per collector, starting with 100,000 signatures from MEA’s own members, as well as signatures from members of unions with which the MEA is affiliated. Can you spell AFL-CIO? That group has 627,000 Michigan members and a Labor Solidarity Partnership Agreement with the National Education Association (NEA), the national parent union of the MEA.

If MEA President Iris Salters can convince NEA President Dennis Van Roekel to back the MEA financially in this battle, the Michigan Republican Party will find itself holding a dull knife in the middle of a gun fight. According to disclosures filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, the NEA has 3.2 million members nationally, and brought in a billion dollars in dues between 2007-2010.

A2Politico asked the Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, Mark Brewer, if his group will now support the MEA in its efforts to recall Republican Rick Snyder. Brewer’s spokesman, John Tramontana, sent along Brewer’s tight-lipped answer via email: “We do not disclose internal strategic discussions.”

On May 17, 2011 A2Politico posted a piece titled, “Michigan Dem Party Ignores Recall Efforts—MDP Facebook Page Bombarded By Furious Dems.” In that piece it was reported that:

On May 11th, Eclectablog posted an item that should let Michigan Democrats know exactly how far the Michigan Democratic Party is prepared to go to lend support to the efforts to repeal the Emergency Financial Manager legislation and the various recall efforts against Governor Rick Snyder and nine Republican state legislators. Chris Savage, the Ecletablogger writes:
Michigan Democratic Party chair, Mark Brewer met with at least some Benton Harbor City Commissioners this week. By now, you’ve probably hear that these Commissioners have been relieved of duty by Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) Joseph Harris.

At that meeting, I am told, Brewer stated that the MDP will not be supporting any of the recall efforts around the state to recall vulnerable Republicans and Governor Rick Snyder or the effort to citizens’ effort to repeal the new EFM law.

In a May 2011 piece about MEA financed attack ads aimed at Republican legislators who had voted to cut state education funding, A2Politico reported:

The Michigan Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, took in over $199,000,000 in 2010, including dues from its 153,000 members who pay $620 each per year for representation. In 2010, according to documents filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, the organization spent $3.8 million on political activities, including lobbying…In the 2010 elections, the MEA donated a total of $1.041 million dollars to 315 Democratic and 67 Republican candidates. To put the MEA’s $1.041 million dollars in donations into perspective, Republican Rick Snyder self-funded $5.88 million dollars of his $11 million dollar campaign, and the Republican Governors Association, in Washington, DC., donated $5.21 million to candidates in Michigan, primarily through a $5.2 million dollar donation to the Michigan Republican Party. The Michigan House Democratic Fund spent $3 million dollars supporting 22 candidates for state office.

In April, Governor Snyder sent a lawyer to the Washtenaw County Building, where three county employees were set to determine whether the language on the recall petition was valid. In a 2-1 vote, the language was approved and the recall effort began to organize in earnest. Through his spokesperson, Governor Snyder told the media that he was taking the recall efforts “seriously.” When questioned by reporters about mass protests at the State Capitol Building, Snyder said the protests were “Democracy in action.”

No doubt, with the entry of the Michigan Education Association into the recall battles being waged by Michigan citizens across the state, Michigan’s Governor, as well as the 20 Republicans targeted are going to take the efforts much more seriously. Between now and August, when the Committee to Recall Rick Snyder expects to have gathered 1.1 million signatures, Snyder will  get to experience what Democracy in action looks like when it’s being waged by one of the most experienced, best financed, and most powerful political players in the state of Michigan in solidarity with a grassroots effort led by citizens state-wide. 

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Short URL: http://www.a2politico.com/?p=9052

21 Comments for “The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Michigan Education Association To Back Snyder Recall Efforts”

  1. Well, It’s about time the “sleeping giant” wakes up and faces reality. The reality that ALEC, the American Legislative Education Council, funded by most major corporations, and their Repug allies are out to take over our gov’t and privitize everything including the American people. As in 1984, Soylent Green and other futuristic novels and movies we the prople will become just fodder for the designs of corporate Amerika. Yes, corporate Amerika, the 21st Century Facist nation.

  2. A2 Politico July 2, 2011 – 2:23 pm :
    From FACEBOOK: “it’s about damn time. Now how about
    the Michigan Democratic Party? What are they waiting
    for?”—Sam Galate

    Was anyone seriously expecting the Dems to take a
    non-cowardly and non-Republican stand on this, or
    any, important issue?

  3. Anyone with a working long-term memory knows where this agenda to “Starve Public Schools Out Of Existence” came from.

    Good thing there’s web search for the rest of us —

    Richard DeVos Advocates “Stealth” Strategy Against Public Education
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-fTAhc4QC4

    Blackwater In-Law DeVos Outlines “Stealth” Plot Against Public Education
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/04/972949/-Blackwater-In-Law-DeVos-outlines-stealth-plot-against-Public-Education

    Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech
    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/5/3/12515/58655/Front_Page/Strategy_for_Privatizing_Public_Schools_Spelled_out_by_Dick_D

  4. From FACEBOOK: “I actually keep wondering why we don’t just arrest him & present him to the supreme court on charges.”—Michael Klem

  5. From FACEBOOK: “It is about time! It is time for all mea members to get involved-join firericksnyder.org, collect signatures, spread the word of signing events… We can do this-we have to do this…. our careers are on the line!”—Tami Freeman Theunick

  6. From FACEBOOK: “looks like the the MEA finally realizes they’re going out of business. They should have been with us from the start!”—Jim Preczewski

  7. Well, the MEA is just the beginning. We intend to get AFSCME, Teamsters and a host of others. Next up is “right to work for less” state. This recall is truly non-partisan. We need to show Snyder and his teabaggers that they better watch their backs. Once the message gets out that MI taxpayers aren’t going to tolerate anymore corporate teabaggers or Wall Street Dems, they’ll all be singing a different tune. It is time for Americans to join the rest of the people in the streets around the globe. We are not broke. They’re just pigs and want more and more until they have it all.

    http://www.firericksnyder.org

  8. From FACEBOOK: “The anti-teacher anti-education bills should stand as a painful lesson to us now as they move “right to work” to the front burner! We all need to stand up and fight!”—Tony Lagace

  9. From FACEBOOK: “@Sam my friend, we cannot expect them to join us. And that is frustrating for all of us pal. Dara, you can quote the AFT better than I.( I hope those vols do a good job for us btw. Any problems, concerns, let me know. Thx. )

  10. From FACEBOOK: “NOW is the time for the UAW to step up & help protect the members & all the freedoms we have fought for!!! Why the silence????”—Helen Hynes

  11. From FACEBOOK: “They hoped to negotiate and reason with Gov Snyder and the Repubs. That is impossible!—Mark Sleep

  12. From FACEBOOK: “Angry teachers unite! Lets send them all to detention!—Mark Sleep

  13. From FACEBOOK: “And the AFT!!!”—Dara Edgerton

  14. From FACEBOOK: “t’s about damn time. Now how about the Michigan Democratic Party? What are they waiting for?”—Sam Galate

  15. From FACEBOOK: “Now, if the UAW & Teamsters would show some guts & back us as welll”—Helen Hynes

  16. From FACEBOOK: “Every union member and their families should make it a goal of collecting at least 100 signatures apiece. Hope the MEA decision helps to spread the word.—Steven Portnoy

  17. From FACEBOOK: “Better late than never. We will appreciate it if they follow through.”—Cheryl Dingwell

  18. From FACEBOOK: “About time!”—Erin Clifford

  19. From FACEBOOK: “woohoo!”—Melissa Sklar

  20. From FACEBOOK: “WE need to do it. The time for reliying on anyone else to get this done is OVER. You can arrange to get your stack of petitions at http://www.firericksnyder.org.”—Deborah Jurges

  21. From FACEBOOK: “Well, it’s about time and they need to do more than just say it. They need to DO it.”—Mary Fox

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