Seven years ago, the Michigan Educators Association and the American Federation of Teachers Michigan launched court cases to challenge the state’s illegal withholding of 3 percent of the school employees’ paychecks to pay for retiree health benefits, and on Wednesday, they’ll get their day in court.
The courts have consistently found the state’s actions to be unconstitutional and that the money should be returned to the school employees who earned it via the state-paid-for retiree health benefits, but the state continued its appeal of those cases.
It is estimated that more than $550 million is sitting in an escrow account. If returned to those who earned it, the money could have a “tremendous positive impact” for individual families and the state’s economy, the groups say.
“The Michigan Supreme Court must deliver justice to public school employees and return the money owed to us,” the groups said in a statement. “We should not have to wait any longer for the money our members earned.”
As such, the groups expect to hold a “flashlight vigil” for the court case to let folks know they’re still there, fighting for what they are owed. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case on Wednesday, November 8.
Vigils are being held across the state. More information can be found online.