Mackinac Center Unveils New Website to Help MEA Members Opt Out During ‘August Window’

‘We’re making sure that every eligible member who wants out of the union has the ability to do so’

For Immediate Release
Monday,
June 9, 2014
Contact:
Ted O'Neil
Media Relations Manager
989-698-1914

MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy today unveiled a new website — www.augustoptout.org — designed to help interested members of the Michigan Education Association resign their membership during the union’s so-called “August window.”

The site contains testimonials from teachers and other school employees who have resigned from the MEA under Michigan’s right-to-work law, as well as a calculator to help MEA members determine how much they could save over the course of their remaining career by investing what they would have paid in dues.

“Unfortunately the MEA continues to insist that its bylaws trump state law, so this is our effort to assist teachers and other school employees to know their rights,” said F. Vincent Vernuccio, director of labor policy. “Many of the MEA’s members are unaware of the union’s heavy-handed opt-out process, so we are making sure that every eligible member who wants out of the union has the ability to do so.”

Visitors to the site can also sign up to be notified by email in late July so they can use sample form letters to send to their local union president and MEA headquarters in August that clearly state their intentions to opt out of the union and cease paying dues or agency fees.

MEA members who have questions about the process can email info@augustoptout.org or call 989-698-1907.

“It’s important for people to keep in mind that they can only exercise their worker freedom rights if they are covered by a contract that has been signed, renewed or extended after March 28, 2013,” Vernuccio said. “We’ll be adding a database to the site soon so teachers can search by district to see where they stand. Of course, despite some of the myths being spread about right-to-work laws, MEA members who are satisfied can keep on paying dues and absolutely nothing will change.”

The unveiling of the new website comes less than a week after the Center asked the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to promulgate a new rule aimed at making communications between public-sector unions and their members easier when it comes to disseminating information about members’ rights under Michigan’s worker freedom law.

 “With all of the confusion going on as to when public-sector union members can or cannot opt out of their union, we thought this streamlined process would be a big help to unions that are trying to keep their members informed and for employees who are trying to sort out their rights,” said Patrick J. Wright, vice president for legal affairs, at the time of the request.

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