Roscommon Teachers Vote to Decertify From the MEA

Analyst: "Cuts out the needless middleman"

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012
Contact: F. Vincent Vernuccio
Director of Labor Policy
Ted O'Neil
Communications Associate

MIDLAND — Teachers in Roscommon Area Public Schools have voted 42-22, a nearly 2-to-1 margin, to decertify from the Michigan Education Association.

Jim Perialas, interim president of the new Roscommon Teacher's Association, said of the victory, “I am excited that my colleagues have shown the courage to stand up to MEA/NEA and its bureaucratic machine. We are not anti-union, we are anti-MEA.  There were many services that were provided by the MEA that we could do ourselves, at half the cost.”

“This is a big success story for the teachers in Roscommon,” said Michael Van Beek, director of education policy. “The dues they pay to be part of a union will be significantly reduced and they’ll receive better representation. Their money will stay in the district instead of going to Lansing to pay the salaries of MEA officials.”

F. Vincent Vernuccio, director of labor policy, said the MEA “priced themselves out of the market” in Roscommon.

“The Roscommon teachers saw the MEA for what it is: A big business with big expenses. They chose not to continue to subsidize the big salaries of the MEA officials with their hard-earned wages. This is truly a pro-worker victory for the teachers of Roscommon.”

Van Beek said the victory over one of the most powerful teachers unions in the country will be encouraging for others who question what value they get from the MEA. Perialas estimates the new annual dues in Roscommon will be about half of the $800 a year they have been paying to the MEA.

“The teachers in Roscommon have been negotiating their own contract for years,” Van Beek added. “This step just cuts out the needless middleman.”

Van Beek said members of the Roscommon Education Association contacted the Mackinac Center in early August to ask for advice on how to handle pressure from the MEA.

“They had already filed their paperwork with MERC (Michigan Employment Relations Commission) and did their legal work before calling,” Van Beek said. “Once they knew the battle was going to be fought, they asked us for some tips on what to expect from the MEA.”