Bills and Strikes

Hopefully, the West Virginia teachers’ strike will establish a precedent for other public-employee unions that are increasingly dealing with union-busting legislation rather than employer-initiated anti-teacher directives [“It Takes a Crisis,” April 9].

In Michigan, even though the two main public-educator unions (the Michigan Education Association, an NEA affiliate, and the Michigan Federation of Teachers, an AFT affiliate) bargain directly with local school boards, Republican legislative initiatives are an integral part of the bargaining. For example, all employees must pay 20 percent for health care, regardless of the cost of the plan. If a local votes to improve coverage for its members in collective bargaining, it is asking its members to pay a 20 percent surcharge on whatever new costs are incurred in the health-care plan. Similarly, Republican legislators have increased the employee cost for retirement benefits while slashing the actual benefit.

So a strike targeted at any district, no matter how large (Detroit being the largest), has no bearing on state legislation, which hamstrings the bargaining not only with direct legislative initiatives, but with a reduced school budget as well. Kudos to West Virginia; may the rest of us join you!

Sidney Kardon
huntington woods, mich.

Cold as ICE

While I sympathize with Sean McElwee’s article [“It’s Time to Abolish ICE,” April 9], all I gotta say is: Good luck with that! The mainstream Democratic Party is known for its cowardice and will have nothing to say on this issue, now or anytime soon.
Michael E. Peterson

I agree that all countries need to control their borders, but ICE as it is currently constituted, with its ultra-authoritarian leadership and overwhelmingly pro-Trump union members, is little more than a de facto goon squad wreaking terror on immigrant communities. On paper, it might well serve a necessary purpose, but to reduce it to that necessary purpose, it’s going to take a wholesale purging of the agency as well as new guidelines that are strictly adhered to, restricting deportations to actual violent criminals and not those who are merely in the country without the proper papers.
Andy Moursund

This is exactly the type of demand that the Republicans would love to use against Democrats in the upcoming 2018 election. It’s a bad idea on all possible grounds. We have immigration laws to restrict and control immigration. Those laws are legitimate, to protect American workers against having our communities flooded with foreign labor willing to work on the cheap. There is no support in the nation for open borders. That means somebody has to round up and deport unauthorized immigrants (or those who came legally but later committed a felony, which legally requires that they be deported). It’s just that simple. If ICE is using inappropriate tactics, let’s deal with that. But to support demolishing the entire police system responsible for stopping unauthorized immigration and deporting people who make it across the border without permission just plays right into Republican hands. And we know where that has gotten us. You could not come up with a better way to ensure that Republicans keep control of Congress. Entirely a bad idea.
Nancy A. Butterfield