Teacher union officials stonewall worker's attempt to resign from union membership and dues payments
Pinckney, MI (November 20, 2013) – The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) in Detroit has issued a complaint against the Michigan Education Association (MEA) union for violating a local special needs classroom assistant's rights under Michigan's recently enacted public-sector Right to Work law.
The complaint stems from a state charge that Linda Evon of Pinckney filed with the MERC last month with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
Evon, who works as a special needs classroom assistant for Pinckney Community Schools, informed the MEA union hierarchy on September 4, 2013, that she was exercising her right under Michigan's Right to Work law to refrain from union membership and dues payments after the union's monopoly bargaining agreement with her employer expired on June 30, 2013. Under Michigan’s Right to Work law, contracts entered into after the law went into effect must respect workers' right to refrain from union membership and union dues payments.
Instead of complying with Evon's request, MEA union officials told her that she would have to wait for a union-designated "window period" of August 1 through August 31, 2014, before she could resign union membership and refrain from union dues payments.
Evon points out in her charge that Michigan’s Right to Work law protects her unequivocal right to refrain from union membership at any time. Analogously, Supreme Court precedent under federal labor law also protects workers' absolute right to refrain from union membership at any time without penalty.
"Across the state, union officials are trying to illegally keep workers from exercising their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "The way the MERC handles this case, and other similar Foundation cases, could very well set the precedent on how civil servants can exercise their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law."
In similar cases across Michigan, Foundation staff attorneys have assisted two other public-sector workers who filed charges with the MERC and an additional private-sector worker who filed a federal charge with the National Labor Relations Board. The MERC has issued a complaint against the Teamster union in one of those cases as well.