A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

In response to the legislature taking up a right-to-work bill, Maryanne Levine, the president of the Chippewa Valley School District local union drew a parallel to the actions of Adolf Hitler.

“We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers’ salaries and take away their right to strike," Levine quoted Hitler as saying. "Those were the words of Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933 … These are strong words, but that is exactly what they are doing and the path they seem to be taking (in Lansing)."

Levine told the Macomb Patch that she was at the protest at the Capitol last week.

Unlike most public and private-sector workers, being there was easy for Levine — she is paid by taxpayers to represent the union full-time.

As Michigan Capitol Confidential noted in a story in 2011, Levine is an elementary school teacher who is released from her duties as a teacher to work for the union. That's the perk of being union president.

According to documents provided by the district via a Freedom of Information Act request, Levine makes $145,117 in total compensation (as of 2011). The Chippewa Valley School District in Macomb County pays $103,807 of that. Another teacher in the district, Larry Schulte, is allowed to spend half his time involved in union business. He receives $125,135 in total compensation of which taxpayers pick-up $104,480 (as of 2011).

Across Michigan, 39 school districts pay out several million dollars each year for union heads to be released half- or full-time on union business. There is currently a bill that has passed the House and sits in the Senate that would ban government union stewards from working on the taxpayers’ dime.

Taxpayers expect school aid money be used to educate children; not for paying people to attend rallies or advocate against their interests.

Mackinac Center for Public Policy Director of Education Policy Audrey Spalding describes her latest study on right-to-work law violations in public school contracts and suggests why districts and unions are ignoring the law.


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