March 31 Deadline for Public School Union Decertification Petitions*

Decertification is the process by which public employees disestablish an existing union for a particular bargaining unit. According to Michigan law and practice, when 30 percent or more of employees in the unit assert that the certified or currently recognized bargaining representative is no longer their representative, a decertification petition may be filed with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. Thereafter, MERC will determine the propriety of the petition and schedule an election. If more than 50 percent of employees vote for decertification, the union relationship is dissolved.

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MERC’s administrative rules set forth a specific time for the filing of decertification petitions. NOTE: for public school contracts that expire between June 1 and Sept. 30, the time period to file a decertification petition is Jan. 2 to March 31 of the year in which the contract is scheduled to expire. See MERC Administrative Rules, R 423.141(3)(a). If the contract expires in a different period, a petition shall not be filed sooner than 150 days and not later than 90 days before the expiration date of the contract. See MERC Administrative Rules, R 423.141(3)(b). In either case, if the window is missed, the petition cannot be filed until after the contract has expired.

A decertification election is not allowed under Michigan law where there is an existing, valid contract of a fixed duration — unless more than three years have elapsed since the contract was last executed or renewed. An election is also prohibited if there has been an election in the preceding 12-month period. See MCL § 423.214.


For MERC petition form: .

For relevant MERC administrative rules: &Admin_Num=42300101 &Dpt=LG&RngHigh

*This article is intended as general information on an issue of public policy, not as legal advice. Readers should not act on this information without benefit of professional legal counsel or checking with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. Laws change, and rulings interpreting the law are issued frequently.