LANSING — House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) today called on House Republicans to end the extreme and over the top rhetoric coming from committee chairs on employer-employee contracts.
“Republican committee chairs need to end this relentless and absurd investigation of school employees, university presidents and local governments over negotiation of personnel contracts,” said Greimel. “Not only is it interfering in the local and autonomous units of government and their relations with employees, but is also costing taxpayers money.”
After passing so called “Right-to-Work” legislation attacking the economic security of middle-class families in 2012, Republican lawmakers have been calling autonomous units of government and school districts to testify on contracts they have negotiated with their employees, including the Taylor School District and Ferris State University.
“Employing big government tactics and holding accusatory hearings is frankly scary enough, but to learn that these hearings and public statements will potentially affect the ability of our kids to get an affordable college education is flat-out offensive,” Greimel said.
The faculty association of Ferris State University had ratified a tentative agreement, originally proposed by school officials, but the trustees unanimously rejected the contract after hearing a series of threats by legislative Republicans. The concern about threats from legislators was reflected in a letter from Ferris State University President David Eisler to faculty and staff regarding the proposed extension.
“A number of lawmakers were quoted in the media as favoring reduced funding or other sanctions of some kind for universities that signed contracts or agreements delaying the impact of ‘Right to Work,’” Eisler wrote. “When these discussions began, I saw the possibility of reaching a five-year agreement, providing good terms, consistency and predictability for the faculty. Unfortunately, because of the political developments, we were unable to attend the union security clause.”
In response to this recent development, Leader Greimel held media availability this afternoon to call for reason.
“On the first day of session this year, I stood to nominate Jase Bolger for Speaker and insisted we work on a bipartisan basis to enact real solutions for the middle-class families of Michigan,” said Greimel. “When Lansing lawmakers, through thinly veiled threats and intimidation, interfere with contract negotiations, it’s time for everyone to pause and consider the consequences of loose talk and heavy-handed tactics.”