Teachers' union, emergency manager at Muskegon Heights schools settle lawsuit

Jun 7, 2012

The teachers’ union at Muskegon Heights Public Schools has settled a lawsuit against the district. The union had alleged the district’s emergency manager was engaged in unfair labor practices.

Muskegon Heights schools' emergency manager Don Weatherspoon says allowing a charter school operator to run the public school district is the only way he can afford to keep school open next year. The deficit is more than $12 million. 

Late last month he issued layoff notices to 158 employees.

Last week the teachers union fired back; filing a lawsuit in Muskegon County and complaints with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission; a state body that looks into unfair labor practices and helps resolve labor disputes. 

The two parties agreed to a settlement late Thursday afternoon. Teachers will get a couple more days of work and two more months of health insurance. In exchange, the union agreed to drop its complaint alleging unfair labor practices.

Union officials stress they are still vehemently opposed to the emergency manager’s plan to convert the district's schools into charters.

Weatherspoon hopes to select a charter operator by the end of next week.