Two Michigan school districts will close Tuesday after hosts of teachers called out sick, apparently to join protests against efforts to pass right-to-work legislation in the state.
The school district superintendent in Taylor, MI, a Detroit suburb, said the district would not have enough teachers to fill the district’s classrooms, according to local news reports. The Taylor Federation of Teachers is reportedly helping to organize the protests.
A Taylor school official apparently told the district’s superintendent that teachers were calling in “sick” to head to Lansing for the protests.
Superintendent Diane Allen told Local 4 there isn’t enough teachers to cover classrooms, so the all schools will be closed for the day. She said she had heard from a principal about where the teachers were going.
She didn’t immediately give an exact number of staff who had called off work.
The state House and Senate approved bills last week that would prohibit requiring non-union employees to financially support unions at their workplace.
Lansing authorities are bracing for an onslaught of protesters Tuesday. They have increased police presence and plan road closings and parking restrictions around the Capitol.
Schools in Warren, MI, will also close due to insufficient teacher attendance.
In Warren, officials announced Monday that classes were canceled at Warren Consolidated Schools due to teachers taking the day off to travel to Lansing to protest the state’s impending right-to-work legislation.
Heritage labor policy expert James Sherk examined the Michigan right-to-work effort in a Thursday post at National Review Online:
Unionsfuriouslyoppose the proposal. Polling shows that almost a quarter of union members would stop paying dues if they could. That would cost Michigan unions $100 million a year (they represent 700,000 Michiganders, and their dues average $600 to $900 a year). Union bosses would much rather workers had no choice.
But many workers feel differently. The most vocal calls for right to work have come from workers upset with their unions. Terry Bowman, a member of UAW Local 898 who works at Ford’s Rawsonville plant, arguedforright to work long before Republicans considered taking it up; Bowman believes the government should not force workers like him to support a union they oppose.
This post has been updated.