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Michigan teachers picket for new employment contracts

Teachers in Iron Mountain, Michigan, have been working for more than 600 days without a contract. The school has been facing some very serious budget issues, losing around $1 million in state funding. They have not been able to keep paying the teachers at the same level, and they are now proposing new employment contracts for the teachers that will force them to take a pay cut.

The teachers, who do not want to work for less, have been picketing to protest what is happening in the district. They are careful to point out that they are not doing this because they want more money or because they are demanding anything that the school did not already give them. They simply want the new contract to come in with the same pay scale that they got in the last one, rather than cutting all of their salaries.

The proposed pay cut would be right around 7.5 percent, and it would impact all of the employees at the school, not just the teachers.

The issue has grown to the point that a third party is going to be brought in to mediate the contract dispute if a decision cannot be reached. The laws in Michigan state that a school has just two years to figure out how to resolve a deficit; it is not allowed to continue running in the negatives for any longer than that. The two-year mark is fast approaching, so the administration knows that something has to be done soon to make up for the money that has been lost.

The stakes of contract law, as we see, can get pretty high, whether you're in business, education or another industry, and surefooted legal expertise is sometimes essential.

Source:  Upper Michigan's Source, "Iron Mountain teachers picket their way to meeting" Abby Miller, Mar. 11, 2014

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