.- On Wednesday, the Michigan Court of Appeals announced their decision that a group of teachers from suburban Detroitâs Brother Rice Catholic High School could not vote to join a state teacherâs union.
The three member panel court said that it would not grant the Michigan Employment Relations Commission jurisdiction over teachers in the stateâs parochial schools.
Namely, they noted a 1979 Supreme Court decision which said that government infringement into the labor issues of parochial schools would cause "substantial First Amendment concerns."
Likewise, board members of the all-boys school argued that the schoolâs religious freedom would be violated by allowing teachers a collective bargaining election.
The Associated Press quoted Patrick Gillen, attorney for the Christian Brothers Institute of Michigan, the schoolâs parent organization, who said that, "That delicate balance should be struck by the school community without any interference from the state."
He called the ruling a victory for religious liberty, and noted that the school does strive to treat its teachers fairly.
In 2003, some 30 teachers from Brother Rice, angered over teacherâs compensation and budget cuts to certain programs requested a vote on whether or not to join the Michigan Education Association--the stateâs largest teacherâs union.
A green light was given by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, but the vote was put on hold pending the schoolâs court appeal.
A frustrated Michigan Education Association has not decided whether they will appeal the courtâs decision.