News Story

I Pledge Allegiance to the Union ...

Dearborn school employees asked to pledge to remain members of the union

The teachers union at the Dearborn public school district recently asked school employees to sign a written pledge declaring that they will keep paying union dues rather than exercise their option, under Michigan’s right-to-work law, to opt out.

But Dearborn school employees must pay union dues until their current union contract expires in 2018 — pledge or no pledge. The school district is contractually obligated to deduct slightly reduced union dues called "agency fees" for any employee who does not comply. Agency fees are determined by the union. The MEA defines agency fees as the dues that cover only the costs of negotiating and maintaining the contract.

The final section of the pledge request reads: “I therefore pledge to remain a member of the Dearborn Federation of Teachers, Local 681, for as long as I am employed at Dearborn Public Schools. I will politely but firmly decline invitations to resign my membership and deprive me — and my fellow workers — of our voice.”

Dearborn was one of many school districts that signed unusually long union contracts in March 2013, just before the right-to-work law went into effect. The law does not apply to contracts that were signed before it went into effect.

Christine Sipperley, president of the Dearborn Federation of Teachers, didn’t return an email seeking comment.

Terry Bowman, president of Union Conservatives, a nonprofit that informs union members on political and labor issues, said he does not think Dearborn teachers should sign the pledge.

“By signing that form, teachers are saying they are not going to hold their union accountable,” Bowman said. “Whether they believe in right-to-work or not, they are releasing their union officials from being accountable for their actions.”


See also:

MEA Ordered to Stop Violating School Employees' Right-to-Work Law Rights

'Simon Says': Teacher Union Toys with Members Wanting Out, Demands Requests Go to 'Stealth' P.O. Box

With Right-to-Work, Employees No Longer Have to Put Up With Unions Opposed to Their Values

Public Sector Unions Vague About How They Spend Dues Money