The week in review: Taylor teacher contracts, same-sex adoption, and Detroit pensions

Jul 13, 2013

Each week, Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry, and weekend host Rina Miller look back on the big news events in Michigan. You can listen to their discussion above. Below is a short summary.

Lawsuit over Taylor School District contract tossed out

The Mackinac Center and three teachers who sued the Taylor School District for skirting Michigan's right-to-work law have lost the case.  The district stuck a 10-year deal with the teacher's union. Part of it requires that all teachers either join the union or pay an agency fee to the union. This contract was finalized prior to the state's new right-to-work law went into effect. 

“I think it was very predictable. A contract is still a contract. It was valid when it was signed and you can’t do anything about it now.  Of course, whenever this contract expires, then I presume they’ll be subject to the right-to-work provisions…” said Lessenberry.

The right-to-work law prohibits employers and unions from entering into contracts that compel employees to support the union financially.

Judge may decide the future of Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban

A federal judge will hear a case regarding same-sex adoption that may affect Michigan’s marriage laws.  The judge delayed the case until the Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage recognition. 

Lessenberry says “there are some ambiguities and it’s quite possible that Judge Freedman could use this opportunity to declare Michigan’s law against gay marriage unconstitutional.”

Likely Detroit bankruptcy will affect pensions

Detroiters may have to settle for much smaller pensions than they expected. 

Jack Lessenberry thinks it is likely that the city will declare bankruptcy in light of its $19 billion debt.  He says “whatever happens, it seems likely that a lot of people are going to be in for a rude awakening and are not going to have the kind of money there they thought they would.”