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02/10/76 LAMPHERE SCHOOLS v. LAMPHERE FEDERATION

February 10, 1976

THE LAMPHERE SCHOOLS
v.
LAMPHERE FEDERATION OF TEACHERS



Appeal from Oakland, James S. Thorburn, J.

Leave to appeal granted, 396 Mich 871.

McGregor, P. J., and T. M. Burns and N. J. Kaufman, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Labor Relations -- Public Employers -- Civil Damage Action -- Strikes -- Statutes.

A public employer may not maintain a civil damage action against the union representing its public employees where the union has caused a strike in violation of statutory prohibition; such suits are inconsistent with the provisions of the public employment relations act which gives to the Employment Relations Commission and not to the courts the primary responsibility to balance the competing equities when unfair labor practices or other misconduct have been committed by both sides (MCLA 423.201 et seq.; MSA 17.455[1] et seq.)

2. Labor Relations -- Public Employment Relations Act -- Strikes -- Discretionary Discipline -- Sole Remedy -- Injunction.

The discretionary right of an employer to discipline or dismiss a striking employee was intended by the Legislature to be the exclusive legal remedy in cases where the public employment relations act has been violated, but this statutory remedy does not limit the availability of the equitable remedy of injunctive relief to stop a strike, when appropriate (MCLA 423.201 et seq.; MSA 17.455[1] et seq.).

3. Schools and School Districts -- Teachers -- Strikes -- Public Employment Relations Act -- Reinstatement -- Employment Relations Commission.

A teacher who is found at a statutory hearing to have violated the provisions of the public employment relations act by striking should nevertheless be reinstated if the Employment Relations Commission determines that reinstatement will best effectuate the policies of the act (MCLA 423.201 et seq.; MSA 17.455[1] et seq.).

4. Labor Relations -- Public Employment Relations Act -- Legislative Intent -- Equal Bargaining Power -- Civil Damage Suits -- Punitive Sanctions.

The legislative intent behind the public employment relations act is to equalize bargaining power between public employers and public employees and to provide penalties only in cases where a party has bargained in bad faith; an action for civil damages by a public employer against an employee union which caused an illegal strike would provide a judicially created punitive sanction against the employee not intended by the Legislature and is, therefore, not maintainable (MCLA 423.201 et seq.; MSA 17.455[1] et seq.).

5. Labor Relations -- Public Employee Strikes -- Essential Services -- Schools and School Districts -- Loss of Revenue.

The fundamental purpose of prohibiting public employee strikes is to insure that the public business is not interrupted and that essential services are not suspended, not to protect public schools from ...


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