Modified Contracts

Some districts have modified parts of their teachers union contracts after March 28, 2013, without changing the contract to comply with Public Act 349. These districts have contracts that were ratified prior to the effective date of Public Act 349. There are about 1,700 teachers employed by these districts, teaching about 24,000 students.[106]

The largest district on this list is Ann Arbor Public Schools, which approved a new “tentative agreement” with its teachers union on June 25, 2014, to modify employee compensation levels and allow the district to pursue teacher merit pay and a new teacher evaluation system.[107] Although it made these changes to the contract, the new tentative agreement did not remove language requiring teachers to pay union dues and fees as a condition of employment.

The Coldwater school district did something similar. It entered into a collective bargaining agreement on March 25, 2013, with its teachers union, requiring employees to pay union dues and fees as a condition of employment.[108] However, on June 24, 2013, the district added an agreement to its contract, changing teacher salary, insurance and merit pay.[109] This behavior may be an indication of a high level of trust between the district and its union, since district officials were willing to give the union a benefit (mandatory dues) in March, while delaying discussions of salary, insurance and merit pay for three more months.

Graphic 7 lists the districts that have been identified for modifying portions of their contracts after March 28, 2013, but chose not to comply with Public Act 349. “Modification Date” indicates when the district appears to have changed its collective bargaining agreement with a “letter of understanding” or some similar action.

Whether or not these districts should be in compliance with Public Act 349 is a question that impacts more than just these districts. Nine other districts agreed to contracts before March 28, 2013, that last at least five years.[*] The longest of these contracts extends until 2023.[110] It is likely that these districts will need to modify their contracts in the future (especially those provisions impacting the district’s budget), but will these districts need to comply with Public Act 349 when these changes are made?

The answer will impact almost 6,400 teachers in some of Michigan’s largest school districts, including Utica, Dearborn, Warren Consolidated, Taylor, Hartland and Woodhaven-Brownstown, in addition to the 1,740 teachers employed in the six districts listed below.[111]

Graphic 7: Contracts Modified After March 28, 2013


Modification Date


Ann Arbor


“Teachers shall either submit a membership form or shall be considered agency shop fee payers to Association.”[112]



“All teachers ... may either ... authorize[e] deduction of membership dues of the Association ... or [c]ause to be paid a representation fee.”[113]



“In the event that a bargaining unit member has not [paid union dues] or paid the required service fee ... that member is not considered an employee.”[114]

North Huron


“All ... teachers ... shall ... as a condition of employment ... either become members of the Association; or [p]ay to the Association an amount of money ... equal ... [to dues].”[115]



“Any teacher who is not a member of the Association ... shall, as a condition of employment, pay as a Representation Benefit Fee to the Association.”[116]



“Each bargaining unit member shall pay membership dues or a service fee to the Association.”[117]

[*] These districts are Utica, Taylor, Warren Consolidated, South Lake, Woodhaven-Brownstown, Lakeview (Calhoun), Dearborn City, Coldwater, Lansing and Hartland.