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Michigan Post Right-to-Work
posted by: Ruthie | October 08, 2013, 06:19 PM   

On March 28, 2013, Michigan's Right-to-Work law went into full effect, finally providing Michigan teachers and other workers the freedom to choose whether they want to be a member of a union. Since its inception, AAE has seen a large increase in Michigan teachers searching for professional benefits without the partisan politics of the Michigan Education Association (MEA). However, due to the mass exodus of members, Michigan union leaders are doing everything in their power to keep workers in the fold.

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that that a Michigan teacher union boss sent out a memo stating union officials should consider suing union members who exercise their right to work and refrain from union membership and dues payments.

Additionally, MEA President Steve Cook recently reported that only 1% of the union's members had exercised their right to leave the union despite conflicting reports. In reality, there are many school district employees who are still required to pay agency fees because their local unions ratified a collective bargaining agreement containing that provision prior to the state law taking effect. Only time will tell the number of teachers who see the value in membership, once these agreements expire.

The situation is playing out in many ways like nearby Wisconsin. Post Act 10, many Wisconsin school districts remained under exclusive agreements. Following their expiration, the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) admitted to losing more than 20,000 active members in the first year alone.

The fact is, teachers deserve the freedom to choose membership in any association. Rigid laws and agreements that favor labor unions over teachers are counterproductive. In 2012 alone, 140,000 educators left the NEA. A National Employee Freedom Week poll further showed that 33% of union members would opt out of union membership if given the chance.

News in Wisconsin, Michigan and many other states is proof that when teachers have the right to choose, many choose to flee the unions in favor of professional associations that provide similar benefits, at a fraction of the cost.

What do you think about Michigan's new law? Do you think teachers clearly understand their rights in states like Michigan?

Comment below.

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