Teachers understand that sometimes they have to lay down the law to educate young,
unruly students. But what Michigan public school instructors dont understand
is why the states compulsory union laws treat them as if they were
Michigan is one of 23 states that forces all public-sector employees, including
teachers, into mandatory collective bargaining arrangements. What this means is that
thousands of Michigan teachers are compelled each year to pay hundreds of dollars in fees
to support unionsor else look for another job.
Many teachers are now demanding that powerful unionsincluding the Michigan
Education Associationrespect their constitutional rights to seek new union
representation and to stop being forced to subsidize union political lobbying and other
Repealing compulsory union laws would allow educators who are unhappy with their union
to immediately resign and voluntarily join another union or even bargain for more wages
than the union will get for them.
Governor Engler has said that teachers should not be compelled to join or support a
union in order to keep their jobs. Its time for Michigan to pass a "teacher
bill of rights" and restore dignity and professionalism to a vital and honorable
For the Mackinac Center, this is Catherine Martin.