Michigan Union Bosses Hate School Choice

When Governor Rick Snyder (R) and Republicans in Michigan’s state legislature implemented reforms to the state’s broken public school system last year, the Michigan Education Association (MEA) cried foul. The tone of MEA “leaders” trying to bolster their Middle Class credentials should sound familiar to anyone from Wisconsin or Ohio:

[MEA President Iris] Salters joined about 1,000 union members protesting at the state Capitol on Tuesday, saying the bill is “again a way to say to labor, you don’t count. It’s a way to say to employees, get back. I believe it’s just like being in the slave days.”

Why such desperate race-baiting against reforms that would modestly limit public union power? MEA bosses, following the example of higher-ups at the National Education Association, extract a tidy living from their members’ pockets.

Michigan Average Annual Pay compared to Michigan Education Association

Michigan occupational averages are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. MEA staff and officer pay comes from the Department of Labor. While the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers estimate average annual wages in Michigan at $43,280, average pay for MEA staff and officers is $96,373.

Crazy, isn’t it, how angry public unions get about reforms that would threaten their monopoly? MEA bosses must truly care about their underpaid, unappreciated members!

MEA President Iris Salters, quoted above comparing school choice and merit pay to slavery, took $283,280 from Michigan teachers’ paychecks last fiscal year. MEA Public Affairs Director Doug Pratt defended her logic and her threat of an illegal strike:

“MEA will not stand silent while Michigan’s public schools and middle class are under attack,” Pratt said.

“These votes are our way of increasing the awareness and action among our members statewide to stand in defense of our jobs, our rights, and the futures of our students and communities. Should lawmakers fail to end these attack on the people of Michigan, we will not shy away from taking action to stop them.”

Emphasis mine. To be honest, the more I learn about NEA affiliates across the country, the less I worry about my time wasted fighting for Ohio’s union reform bill. Union bosses everywhere seem to be reenacting the same idiotic melodrama!

Meanwhile, 148 of 334 MEA staff and officers are paid six figures. Counting Ms. Salters, the top of the payroll includes 6 people who take more than $200,000 a year from Michigan teachers:


  • LUIGI BATTAGLIERI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: $267,367
  • ARTHUR PRZYBYLOWICZ, GENERAL COUNSEL: $238,475
  • STEVEN COOK, VICE PRESIDENT: $228,799
  • THOMAS FERRIS, SOUTHERN ZONE DIRECTOR: $207,525
  • GRETCHEN DZIADOSZ, AED UNISERV: $200,869

Public Affairs Director Pratt, standing athwart education reform yelling “STUDENTS,” took $174,879 from Michigan teachers last year.

How did Michigan taxpayers survive before the Michigan Education Association?

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart

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