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After largely avoiding Wisconsin-style protests over the past few months, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is now facing the prospect of a teachers’ strike to protest his proposed education cuts, the WSJ reports. Michigan’s teachers’ union is asking its 155,000 members to vote this month to authorise “crisis” measures, including an illegal strike, in the event that Gov. Snyder’s budget passes.
In response, Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that would increase penalties for teachers’ strikes, including revoking or suspending teachers’ licenses and imposing a $5,000 per day fine for the union.
Michigan’s public sector unions have vehemently opposed the governor’s plan to close the state’s $1.8 billion budget shortfall, which includes a 4% cut to the state’s K-12 education budget.
Gov. Snyder, a Republican, also wants to strengthen the power of emergency financial managers sent to fix struggling school districts and local governments, a proposal public employees fear will curb union power.
So far, however, Gov. Snyder has avoided the large-scale union protests that have rocked Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, largely because he has not gone after public workers’ collective bargaining rights.
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