Michigan teachers are discovering that their union is determined to make it as hard as possible for them to take advantage of the state's new right-to-work law, which prohibits workers from being forced to pay dues to a union.
Nine teachers sued the Michigan Education Association in the last week alleging unfair labor practices.
Eight teachers sued the MEA on Monday. They are being represented by the conservative Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. Their complaint alleges the union is violating the intent of the right-to-work law by only giving them a very brief period — the month of August — to drop their membership...In states like California, in which unions are entitled by law to workers' money whether the workers want union membership or not, labor unions can do whatever they want. In a right-to-work state like Michigan, the labor union has to earn those dollars by providing a service that members and potential members see as useful. Which sounds more reasonable to you?
Big Labor hates right-to-work laws because they typically mean fewer members and therefore less dues revenue. Union leaders complain that they cause what economists call a "free rider" problem, since workers still get the benefits of union contract negotiations. Nothing prevents unions from negotiating "members-only" contracts though. They'd just rather have the additional dues coming in.