Mackinac Center Joins Nationwide Effort to Celebrate Employee Freedom Week

Many unions, like the MEA, only allow members to resign during specified ‘windows’ that curb members’ rights

For Immediate Release
Monday,
Aug. 11, 2014
Contact:
Ted O'Neil
Media Relations Manager
989-698-1914

MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is joining with nearly 80 groups in 45 states nationwide to celebrate National Employee Freedom Week, which runs Aug. 10-16 and is aimed at informing union members of their rights on whether or not to financially support a union as a condition of employment.

Unionized employees in 24 states who enjoy right-to-work protections — including Michigan — can leave their union without the loss of salary, benefits, seniority or loss of their job. Those in forced unionism states have the option to become agency fee payers or identify as a religious/conscientious objector. Those options generally require people to only pay that portion of their union dues that are used for collective bargaining purposes.

“Unfortunately, many unions have created narrow windows for their members to exercise their rights, which is not just limited to Michigan,” said F. Vincent Vernuccio, labor policy director for the Mackinac Center. “That’s why National Employee Freedom Week is so important, so that as many union members as possible across the country are informed about their options.”

One such narrow window in Michigan is that of the Michigan Education Association, which insists its bylaws trump state statute and that its members can only resign during the month of August. The Center’s newest website — www.augustoptout.org — is designed to help interested members of the MEA resign if they so choose.

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.

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

One of the teachers featured at www.augustoptout.org, Rob Wiersema, will be part of a panel discussion at noon Tuesday in Washington, D.C., hosted by The Heritage Foundation in conjunction with NEFW. You can watch the event, titled “Free at Last: How and Why Union Members Leave their Unions,” online. You can learn more about Rob’s decision here.

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