As part of the West Michigan Federation of College Educators, we represent roughly 1,500 teachers in the Kalamazoo area. To ensure that our elected officials share our values of support for higher education and support for collective bargaining rights, we sent questionnaires to several candidates for local elected office this year. We asked the following questions:
1) In 2001, Michigan appropriated roughly $6,700 per student to higher education, by 2012 that number dwindled to $3,600 per student. Michigan should return to 2001 funding levels as soon as possible, to ensure that every student in Michigan has access to affordable, high quality higher education with a wide variety of course offerings, small class sizes and well-qualified, well-compensated instructors. Do you agree or disagree?
2) All employees have the right to collectively bargain for wages, working conditions, health care and other benefits, including enhanced job security and equitable treatment for all higher education faculty, including part-time instructors and graduate teaching assistants. Do you agree or disagree?
3) The collective bargaining rights of any employee should not be abridged by local, state or national law, nor should anyone benefit from the provisions of a labor union contract without paying a fair share cost for the administration of that contract. Do you agree or disagree?
After reviewing the responses at an open meeting on June 5, our Political Education Committee made recommendations to the WMFCE executive board and two weeks ago we voted to endorse the following candidates:
State Senate (20th District): Sean McCann
State Representative (60th District): David Buskirk & Jon Hoadley (both endorsed by AFT-Michigan)
State Representative (61st District): John Fisher
Kalamazoo County Commission (#1): Vicki Devould Buchanan-Cohn
Kalamazoo County Commission (#2): Kevin Wordelman
Kalamazoo County Commission (#3): John Taylor
Kalamazoo County Commission (#11): Jamie Jager
We hope if you live in any of the districts listed above that you will consider supporting these candidates. Thank you for your consideration and for your support. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Yours in solidarity,
President, Teaching Assistants Union