For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Media Relations Manager
MIDLAND — The Michigan Education Association has dropped its fight against unfair labor practice complaints filed by two teachers who said they were bullied and intimidated for trying to exercise their rights under Michigan’s worker freedom laws, according to Patrick Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. The MCLF filed the complaints at the Michigan Employment Relations Commission last October on behalf of Miriam Chanski and Ray Arthur.
“Miriam and Ray have received all of the relief they requested and are now free to enjoy the benefits of Michigan’s right-to-work law,” Wright said. “The law is very clear. If you work in a union setting, you are not required to financially support the union as a condition of employment.”
The MEA has been insisting that its bylaws, which it claims only allow members to resign during the month of August, trumps state law.
Unfair labor practice complaints by several other teachers against the MEA remain active and await hearings before MERC. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation in addition filed a lawsuit Friday in Oakland County Circuit Court on behalf of Susan Bank, a special education teacher in the Novi Community School District, against the MEA over threats to turn her over to a collections agency for not paying union dues.
“There is nothing unique about the situations of Ms. Chanski and Mr. Arthur, yet the MEA insists on treating some 8,000 other teachers differently by threatening to ruin their credit by turning them over to a collections agency,” Wright said. “We think the MEA should comply fully with Michigan law and realize that teachers are able to make up their own minds about whether or not they see a benefit to being in the union.”
The MEA admitted last Wednesday during a hearing at MERC that it has created a policy to go after about 8,000 teachers who so far have refused to pay dues in cash or give the union credit card or bank account information as part of its “e-dues” scheme. A federal appeals court rejected the MEA’s attempts last year to block a state law prohibiting school districts from deducting union dues as a payroll function.
“What public school employees who are still under a union contract have to ask themselves is what is different here,” Wright said. “They should ask themselves why the MEA was willing to let these two people go, but appear perfectly willing to stick it to anyone else who attempts to exercise their worker freedom rights.”
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