Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Appeals Circuit Court Dismissal of Lawsuit Related to 10-year Forced Dues Agreement

The three Taylor Teachers represented by MCLF have also filed charges with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013
Ted O’Neil
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has appealed a Wayne County Circuit Court judge’s decision that she lacked jurisdiction to decide the legality of a separate 10-year union security agreement between the Taylor Federation of Teachers-Local 1085 and the Taylor School District that forces teachers to pay union dues through 2023 or risk being fired. The MCLF also filed charges with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, which is the venue Judge Daphne Means Curtis said she thinks should decide the matter.

“The judge didn’t rule on the merits of the case, she only said she didn’t think circuit court was the proper venue,” said Derk Wilcox, senior attorney with the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. “We reviewed our options and decided to go both routes.”

The MCLF in February filed suit on behalf of Angela Steffke, Rebecca Metz and Nancy Rhatigan, all of whom have taught in Taylor for several years and who objected to the forced dues extension. The separate agreement extends a full six years beyond the four-year contract the district and union signed in February, and allows the union to have teachers fired for refusing to pay.

“This is really a union insecurity clause because rather than proving its worth to members, the union is forcing all teachers to continue paying dues or agency fees through 2023,” Wilcox said at the time the lawsuit was filed.

The MCLF asked the court to rule that the insecurity clause is invalid and void, or in the alternative that the clause only be found valid if it lasts for the same length of time as the four-year collective bargaining agreement.

The Taylor Federation of Teachers in January received an “award” from AFT-Michigan for causing 7,500 students to miss school on Dec. 11, 2012, as the district was forced to close during a teacher “sick-out” that was used to protest right-to-work legislation at the Capitol.