In 2012, Michigan passed a law to become a right-to-work state. This means that most workers — everyone except police and firefighters — can no longer be forced to pay money to a union in order to keep their job.

In the years since, the state’s unions have done everything they can to avoid complying with the law. They filed numerous lawsuits; these were thrown out or decided in favor of upholding the law. Since the law did not go into place until current contracts expired, unions worked to extend contracts to put off worker rights as long as possible. And even when the law finally began affecting teachers, the Michigan Education Association only allowed school employees to resign during the month of August. It also used collection agencies to ruin the credit of those who sought to exercise their rights in other months.

To counter the unions, the Mackinac Center has fought on behalf of employees in several ways. We filed lawsuits on behalf of teachers to prevent contract extensions that sold out union membership and established the arbitrary August window. Last year, a judge and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission agreed with us and against the MEA. The union now has to accept resignations year-round, and the MEA had to run a page in its monthly magazine explaining the new rules.

The roadblocks put in place by the unions caused a lot of confusion. This is why we began an advertising campaign to educate workers on their rights and walk them through the process should they need help. 

Michigan school employees can learn more about their rights and how to opt out of their union at MichiganUnionOptOut.com. Members can download an easy form to fill out and send to the MEA.

Autoworkers and other employees working under the UAW can do the same at UAWOptOut.com. 

Michigan union workers now have a choice, and the Mackinac Center is happy to help them exercise their rights. Please help us spread the word.