The three subsidiary corporations which are owned and controlled by the Michigan Education Association are the Michigan Education Special Services Association, Michigan Education Association Financial Services, and the Michigan Hucation Data Network Association .4
The Michigan Education Special Services Association ("MESSA," pronounced MAY-sah) was incorporated by the MEA in 1960 as a wholly-owned, not-for-profit subsidiary. MESSA administers insurance benefit programs to participating MEA members, including life, accidental death and dismemberment, disability, health, dental, and vision coverage. Local affiliate unions of the MEA can bargain MESSA insurance plans into their labor contracts with their respective school districts. In such cases, the corporation which administers insurance benefits to the school district's employees is also a part of the organization which represents the school district's employees during contract negotiations. This gives the MEA unprecedented leverage in controlling the compensatory benefits received by its members.
In 1973, the Internal Revenue Service informed the MEA that MESSA's not-for-profit status could be revoked unless MESSA stopped offering group automobile insurance and variable annuity programs to MEA members. In response to this threat, the MEA created the Michigan Education Financial Services Association, which is now known as MEA Financial Services. This subsidiary provides MEA members with numerous investment services, including annuities, investment retirement accounts, credit cards, mutual funds, auto owners insurance, and home owners insurance. With MEA Financial Services, the MEA is able to financially assist its members beyond the scope of guaranteed insurance coverage by acting as an "investment counselor" of sorts.
The Michigan Education Data Network Association ("MEDNA," pronounced MED-nah) was chartered in 1982 as a wholly-owned for-profit subsidiary of the MEA. Unlike the other subsidiaries, MEDNA's purpose is to service the MEA rather than the MEA's members. MEDNA provides a wide range of clerical and administrative services to the MEA and its other subsidiaries, including data processing, communications, and accounting. In exchange for these services, MEDNA receives compensation from the MEA and its other subsidiaries. As will be discussed later, MEDNA is a resource pool for the whole MEA conglomerate.