HIEA Newsletter

September 2015

Union Meeting Dates for 2015-2016

Professional Development Room - 3:45 pm

Wednesday, September 16 - *voting* We need your attendance!

Thursday, November 19 - regular meeting

Thursday, January 21 - regular meeting

Thursday, March 24 - regular meeting

Thursday, May 26 - *voting* We need your attendance!

Next Union Meeting: Wednesday, September 16

Professional Development Room - 3:45 pm

We will be accepting nominations for a secretary and itinerant representative. Then we will be VOTING. We need your presence for the vote to count!

Other things on the agenda are a tour of the MEA website, an overview of TCBA, review of new contract items, and presentation of flex time policy and request form.

Childcare available in HLC gym.

Light snack will be available for those planning to stay for the HISD Board Meeting.

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2015-2019 Contracts

If we missed you during the first week, please stop by Donna Glinecki's desk to get your copy of the new contract. You can contact your building representative or president if you have any questions or concerns regarding the contract language, meaning, and implementation. We will be more than happy to work with you on any contract matter!

Carol Zurek - HLC representative

Tim Geiger - HATC representative

Unfilled - iterinent representative

Ashlee Mossner - president

MEA Dues

  • MEA will be mailing your written statement of your annual 2015-2016 dues sometime in September. Please be looking for that.
  • DUES DISCOUNT! If you pay your entire year's dues by Friday, October 30, you will receive a form from MEA in November to sign for a $30 rebate!
  • You can change your payment method, review your payment history, and check your balance online at the MEA website. We will look at this at our first meeting if you need help.
  • Automatic bank withdraws or credit card charges will be on the 25th of the month, September through June only.
  • If you have a question about your dues, call MEA Help Center at 1-866-MEA-HELP (1-866-632-4357)
  • If you miss a payment, MEA will contact you to rectify the situation. Please take care of this immediately so you don't risk losing your member benefits.
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Changes in your demographics

You can change your address, telephone number, email, etc. on the MEA website. We will review how to do this at our first meeting if you need help. This is important so MEA is able to contact you about upcoming events, news headlines, member benefits, and dues information.

Member discounts

As an MEA member, you can save money on everything from oil changes to vacations. See what discounts you can receive and how much you can save through our partner, Access. Check it out on the MEA website.
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Advocating for students, public education is labor of love for MI educator

Education Votes is continuing to profile the education activists who have dedicated their lives to fighting for students. This week, the focus is on Michigan educator Robert Gaines III, an education support professional (ESP) who works with students who are autistic and severely impaired. Gaines has been an ESP for 10-years and says he enjoys helping students learn, grow, and develop the life skills that will help them gain confidence.

What education issue drives you to be so involved in advocacy?
RG: The school-to-prison pipeline is what drives me most because it is something that is negatively impacting minority students and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. We have to educate school personnel about the importance of this issue and come up with solutions that ensure that all kids can succeed in the classroom.

Diversity is another key issue for me. I think it’s important to make sure there’s a wide diversity of educators in our public schools, especially in those areas where the student population is made up of children of color. In my opinion, I think this will help minority students gain more confidence and understanding that they can be anything that they want to be and make it through whatever struggle.

As an educator, I care about my community and have established relationships with a variety of different parts of my community. I enjoy using this network to fight for those issues that will help students and families.

What are the best ways for members to get involved in activism online?EV: What particular campaign first got you involved in activism?
RG: I have attended several conferences that focused on professional development for education support professionals—which include paraprofessionals, custodians, maintenance, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, secretaries, and nurses. I am attracted to and enjoy working on those campaigns that lift up the professional issues that impact how ESPs do their jobs and interact with students. ESPs are an integral part of public schools. We work hard but are often not given the credit we deserve.

What are the best ways for members to get involved in activism online?

RG: Reading Education Votes is an excellent way for educators to stay informed and take action on those issues that matter to students and public education. It is a platform where educators can voice their opinions to a national audience.

What would you say to an educator who is not currently involved in political action or advocacy?
RG: In my opinion, working in public education is a calling. Everything that happens within a public school is impacted by legislation. That’s why it is necessary to be involved in political action and advocacy. Public education is under attack in states across the country. We need political action. No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, as educators, our focus has to be on supporting students, teachers, and education support professionals. Being involved in advocacy and political action is a good way to do that.

If you are interested in more articles from Education Votes, please contact Ashlee and she'll e-mail you their newsletters.

MESSA nurses help members with chronic conditions

Managing a chronic condition can be overwhelming – and MESSA’s member education and support programs can help.

MESSA has individual member education and support programs for asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular health, each with its own dedicated nurse who works with members and provides important information, motivation and support to help them reach their health goals. The cardiovascular health program, for example, helps members identify and track key cardiovascular metrics such as blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.

Each of the programs provide to members and their dependents:

· Access to specially-trained nurses who provide personalized one-on-one support

· Educational materials such as books, fliers, pamphlets and videos

· Tips for improving the patient-doctor relationship

For more information on MESSA's member education and support programs, call 800.336.0022, prompt 3.

If you are interested in more articles from MESSA, please contact Ashlee and she'll e-mail you their newsletters.

Schools cannot be open carry zones

Imagine walking into your child’s elementary school and seeing someone with a pistol strapped to his belt. Not a police officer or school security employee, just a citizen. Parents at Edgerton Elementary in Clio didn’t have to imagine it, they saw it.

You may think, “that can’t be legal.” But it is. And, a recent Genesee County Circuit Court decision affirms the legal right of Michigan citizens with a concealed pistol license to openly carry firearms in Michigan public schools.

In response to this court decision, you may also think, “there ought to be a law against that.” The MEA and the public school employees we represent agree.

The decision was the result of a Clio parent’s court challenge to Clio Area Schools’ denial of his right to openly carry his pistol inside the elementary school when he came to pick up his daughter. The circuit judge based his ruling on a 2012 Michigan Court of Appeals decision which held that Lansing Public Libraries cannot prohibit citizens from openly carrying guns onto library property.

In the Clio case, the district argued that state law allows school districts to enact policies to safeguard students. Schools already prohibit students from bringing toyguns onto school property. The Clio school board felt that banning open carry of real firearms was certainly within their right to protect their students. The judge disagreed. In his decision, he ruled that the ban intruded upon the lawmaking authority of the state, which created laws to allow open carry of firearms on school grounds.

Michigan legislators have repeatedly relaxed restrictions on gun owners over the last several years. However some legislators, including state Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, feel they have gone too far. Schor is the sponsor of House Bill 4261, which would ban openly carrying firearms in schools, saying, “we want to make sure our youth are not encountering guns in schools. It’s not part of the educational process.” Schor, a father of two and a gun owner, expressed his fear that “allowing openly-armed civilians to roam the halls of our schools is a recipe for disaster.”

The recent court decision, allowing those with a concealed pistol license to openly carry, presents problems for both school employees and students. School employees do not know if someone openly carrying a firearm into the school building has a concealed carry permit, or what their intentions are. When they see someone entering the building with a firearm, their training and instincts tell them to protect their students by getting them out of the building or locking down their classrooms. Both school employees and school administrators support passage of legislation banning open carry of firearms in public schools.

It should be clear that with tragedies involving mass shootings in schools across the country, schools are not a place for gun owners to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. The only people who should be allowed to carry firearms in public schools are police officers and school security personnel who are trained in the use of weapons for school safety.

Allowing guns to be openly carried in public schools only exacerbates the fear and uncertainty of both staff and students and does not provide students with the safe environment they need to focus on learning and exploring. Enacting legislation banning guns in public schools would help provide that safe learning environment.

Republicans and Democrats should agree that House Bill 4261 is a sensible fix to a dangerous loophole.

Steven Cook is president of the Michigan Education Association.

Labor Voices

Labor Voices columns are written on a rotating basis by United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams, Teamsters President James Hoffa, Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber and Michigan Education Association President Steven Cook.

If you are interested in more articles from Labor Voices, please contact Ashlee and she'll e-mail you their newsletters.