From this Week's Michigan Education Digest:

MEA May Raise Teacher Dues by Maximum Amount

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Education Association, currently facing a $10.7 million budget deficit, may be getting set to levy the maximum allowable dues increase on its members.

According to a memo to MEA members obtained by Michigan Education Digest, MEA officers are “proposing in the 2003-2004 budget a dues increase of $11.19 per month, the maximum allowable under our Bylaws.”

The dues increase, which would cost teachers an extra $111.90 if paid each month for a ten-month school year, would be only part of a plan to balance the union’s budget. According to the Feb. 6 memo, union officials have already had to cut $2 million in expenses for such things as training, overtime and conferences; they are negotiating with their own staff unions “regarding retirement incentives and salary adjustments;” and planning the elimination of 47 staff positions.

The memo assures members, “As ominous as this sounds, the [pension] plan is in no danger of going under.”

MEA spokeswoman Margaret Trimer-Hartley told Michigan Education Digest she would neither confirm nor deny the dues increase.

The increase would raise the cost of MEA membership by 24.5 percent, according to Mike Antonucci, director of the California-based Education Intelligence Agency.

Virtually all MEA-unionized teachers must pay the union dues or fees to keep their jobs.

Michigan Education Digest (subscribe here) is a service of Michigan Education Report, which is published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

SOURCES:

Detroit News, “Teachers Union Suffers Deficit,” Feb. 2, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0302/02/b01-74457.htm

Education Intelligence Agency, “Michigan Education Association Proposes 24.5% Dues Hike,” March 10, 2003
http://members.aol.com/educationintel/

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “State ‘Teacher Bill of Rights’ Is Needed,” April 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/1660

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan Education Association Dues Increase Memo," March 2003
http://www.mackinac.org/5177