Kathi Moreau, a Michigan school counselor who decided to leave her union, was surprised to see her name published in her former union’s newsletter — along with 15 other deserters.
“The fact that names were published in the newsletter confirmed the thought that some unions would throw their members under a bus at the blink of an eye,” said Moreau in a statement to Michigan Capitol Confidential. “Additionally, there was no reason for publishing our names and it is nothing less than a cheap shot for opting out.”
Michigan became a right-to-work state after the 2012 election, giving teachers and other public employees the right to opt-out of joining unions. But a delay in right-to-work’s implementation allowed school districts to lock their employees into their current contracts and force them to pay union dues for years, however.
And now, some unions — like Moreu’s former union, Michigan Education Association 17-B/C — seem prepared to try to intimidate members who do find a way to leave.
“You would think that a professional teacher organization would not participate in this type of behavior,” said James Perialas, president of the Roscommon Teachers Association, an independent union that split with the MEA last year, in a statement. “These teachers were exercising their rights, and publishing their names implies that the readers should treat them differently in a negative way.”
Wendy Day, a former school district board member and current candidate for Michigan state representative, said the union’s actions smacked of bullying.
“Holy cow, for all the anti-bullying efforts in our schools these days, this is shameful,” she said in a statement.