School Bus Driver Wins Precedent: Michigan Public Employees Can Stop Paying Union Dues at Any Time
MERC votes that Teamster union officials violated Right to Work law by requiring workers to wait for a “window period” to stop paying dues
Howell, MI (June 10, 2015) – Yesterday, the Michigan Employee Relations Commission (MERC) unanimously decided to strike down a Teamster Local 214 policy that required Pauline Beutler and other employees to wait for a union-designated “window period” to stop paying union dues. Beutler, a school bus driver with the Livingston Education Service Agency, challenged the Teamsters’ policy with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
Beutler filed charges with the MERC against the Teamsters in October 2013 after she attempted to leave the union and stop paying union dues. Instead of complying with Beutler’s request, union officials told her that she would have to wait until July 2014 before she could revoke her dues deduction authorization and stop paying union dues. A dues deduction authorization is a document union officials use to collect dues or fees directly from workers’ paychecks.
Beutler argued that Michigan’s Right to Work law, which went into effect in March 2013, invalidates the union’s window period requirement. Under the new law, employees have the right to resign their formal union membership and stop financially supporting a union at any time.