Of the 509 districts surveyed, 23 kept mandatory dues language in collective bargaining agreements ratified after Public Act 349 took effect (see Graphic 2). These districts represent almost 10 percent of Michigan school districts that approved teacher contracts after March 28, 2013.[*] These contracts do not provide a rationale for preserving this language prohibited by state law.

The Monroe school district is one of these 23 districts and employs about 350 teachers.[13] Monroe’s teacher contract states that employees will be fired if they do not financially support the Monroe City Education Association, stating: “[T]he services of such teacher shall be discontinued as of the end of the current school year.”[14]

Monroe’s collective bargaining agreement was approved by its board of education on March 4, 2014, nearly a year after Public Act 349 took effect. According to the minutes of the meeting, the district’s six school board members who were present at the meeting approved the contract unanimously.[15]

Monroe Assistant Superintendent Ryan McLeod acknowledged that the language in Monroe’s collective bargaining agreement was illegal. McLeod told Michigan Capitol Confidential (a news service published by the Mackinac Center) that “[t]his [language] absolutely should be taken out.”[16] It is unclear how the district plans to remove the language, and the contract does not expire until Aug. 15, 2016.[17]

The Vicksburg school district, just south of Portage, also appears to force teachers to pay union dues or agency fees. The district’s contract was extended on Sept. 4, 2013, five months after Public Act 349 took effect. It requires employees “permanently employed” to either “become and maintain their membership in the [union],” “pay a representation fee ... to the [union],” or “pay sums equal to such dues” to a nonprofit charity “in lieu of periodic dues uniformly required of [union] members.”[18]

The district believes that it may continue forcing teachers to financially support the Vicksburg Education Association, because the district’s previous contract would not have expired until 2015. The district plans to continue to enforce this provision until the original agreement expires after the 2014-2015 school year.[19]

Graphic 2 lists the 23 districts with collective bargaining contracts that contain mandatory dues language. The “Date of Ratification” column indicates the date a district’s school board approved the collective bargaining agreement. This information comes from public school board meeting minutes (often posted online), and through Freedom of Information Act requests.

These districts are primarily small districts, with each employing an average of fewer than 100 teachers, but altogether, they employ about 2,100 teachers and enroll close to 35,000 students.[20]

The Monroe district was identified previously by the Center for the district’s inclusion of other prohibited language in a teachers union contract.[21] Algonac, Farwell and Reese were previously identified for failing to offer performance-based compensation for teachers.[22]

Graphic 2: Agreements Containing Illegal Language
per Public Act 349

District

Date of Ratification

Language

Algonac

6/24/2013

“Bargaining unit members not joining the Association shall pay a service fee to the Association ... If a bargaining unit member does not pay ... the Employer shall deduct that amount from the bargaining unit member’s wages.”[23]

Bloomingdale

6/24/2013

“Any teacher who is not a member of the Association ... shall, as a condition of employment, pay a representation fee to the Association.”[24]

Buckley

9/17/2013

“Each bargaining unit member shall, as a condition of employment ... join the Association or pay a Service Fee to the Association.”[25]

Chassell Township

10/21/2013

“[A]ny teacher who is not a member of the Association ... shall, as a condition of employment, pay a service fee to the Association.”[26]

Colon

11/11/2013

“Any teacher who is not a member of the Association ... shall as a condition of employment, pay a service fee to the Association.”[27]

Dansville

6/17/2013

“Any teacher [not paying dues] ... must render to the Association either the equivalent fees or the reduced Agency Fee.”[28]

Farwell

8/19/2013

“All teachers ... shall as a condition of employment ... join the Association, or pay a service fee to the Association.”[29]

Forest

7/8/2013

“Each bargaining unit member may ... join the Association and pay membership dues or pay a service fee to the Association.”[30]

Frankfort-Elberta

8/12/2013

“Each bargaining unit member shall, as a condition of employment ... join the Association or pay a service fee to the Association.”[31]

Gladwin

7/29/2013

“All bargaining unit members ... shall ... join the [union], or pay a Service Fee to the [union].”[32]

Kalkaska[†]

9/9/2013

“Each bargaining unit member shall, as a condition of employment…join the Association, or pay a service fee to the union.” (Emphasis in original)[33]

Lawrence[‡]

6/24/2013

“[I]t shall be a condition of employment that all teachers ...” [34]

Leslie

9/25/2013[§]

“Bargaining unit members shall, as a condition of employment, pay either dues or a Service Fee.”[35]

Ludington

8/26/2013

“As a condition of employment, teachers shall ... pay either membership dues or a representation service fee to the Association.”[36]

Mattawan

6/10/2013

“Each bargaining unit member shall, as a condition of employment ... join the Association or pay a service fee to the Association.”[37]

Monroe

3/4/2014

“[If a teacher does not pay dues or fees to the union], the services of such teacher shall be discontinued as of the end of the current school year.”[38]

Mt. Pleasant

7/8/2013

“If a bargaining unit member does not pay [dues or fees] ... the employer shall deduct that amount from the bargaining unit member’s wages and remit same to the Association.”[39]

Munising

7/26/2013

“If the teacher fails to [pay dues or fees], the Association may file charges in writing with the Board and shall request termination of the teacher’s employment.”[40]

Northport

6/24/2013

“Each bargaining unit member shall, as a condition of employment … join the Association, or pay a service fee to the Association.”[41]

Parchment

7/1/2013[¶]

“Any teacher who is not a member of the Association ... shall as a condition of employment, pay a service fee to the Association.”[42]

Reese

7/11/2013

“Each bargaining unit member shall ... join the Association, or pay a Service Fee.”[43]

Superior Central

8/19/2013

“Any teacher who is not a member of the Association ... shall pay a service fee.”[44]

Vicksburg

9/4/2013

“Employees permanently employed ... must either ... become and maintain their membership in the Association, pay a representation fee ... or pay sums equal to such dues to a [charity.]”[45]


[*] This is based on the number of contracts available on school district websites as of May 2014.

[†] In Kalkaska’s contract, the district notes that the agency shop fee language is unenforceable. The district is listed here because it preserved language contrary to Public Act 349.

[‡] The Lawrence school district did remove some language from its contract that would require teachers to pay an agency fee, but the contract the district ratified after Public Act 349 still gives the impression that teachers must authorize dues to be deducted from their pay as a condition of employment.

[§] This is the date Leslie’s collective bargaining agreement was signed by the Ingham Clinton Education Association. FOIA requests for the district’s minutes showing the date of board ratification were ignored.

[¶] This is the effective date of Parchment’s contract, not necessarily the date of ratification. There is evidence that the contract was ratified after March 28, 2013: Julie Mack, “Most Kalamazoo-Area School Employees Will Feel Impact of New Right-to-Work Law This Summer,” MLive.com, March 28, 2013, http://goo.gl/LDJqho (accessed Aug. 22, 2014).