MEA Loses Court Battle

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Michigan law; school districts do not have to do union’s work in collecting dues

Thursday, May 9, 2013
Ted O’Neil
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Michigan Public Act 53 of 2012 is constitutional, meaning that most public school districts no longer have to spend taxpayer dollars to collect union dues.

The Michigan Education Association filed suit to block the measure just weeks after it was signed into law.

“As a result of this decision, a school district does not have to collect dues or fees for any collective bargaining agreement that was entered into, extended or renewed after March 20, 2012,” said Patrick J. Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. “Any such deductions should stop immediately.”

Despite Michigan becoming a right-to-work state on March 28, currently most teachers must still pay union dues or agency fees unless they resign their union membership during a narrow window in August. MEA President Steve Cook has already said the union will use “any legal means at our disposal” to fight the union’s own members who wish to embrace their worker freedom rights.

“This decision rightfully recognizes that government should not be a collection agency for a private organization,” said Labor Policy Director F. Vincent Vernuccio. “While this law is a good start, it only applies to school districts but should be broadened to include all government employers.”

This is the MEA’s second legal failure related to paycheck deductions. In 2011, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled against the union in upholding a state law that said school districts could not deduct PAC money from teachers’ paychecks and forward that money to the union.


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