Education

Michigan Teachers Union Uses Sneaky Tactic To Keep People From Leaving

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Blake Neff Reporter

The state teachers union in Michigan has been caught trying to keep members from leaving under right-to-work by requiring them to resign by mailing to an obscure, special address.

In 2012, Michigan passed right-to-work for state employees, giving teachers and other state employees the right to leave their unions and stop paying dues while keeping their jobs. Naturally, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), which represents over 100,000 Michigan teachers, has been extremely distressed by the policy change and has done what it can to keep members from leaving now that they have a choice.

Initially, the MEA fought back by creating a rule that only allowed members to quit in the month of August. But the Michigan Employment Regulation Commission is poised to declare that tactic illegal soon, so the MEA has hit upon a new approach: super-secret post office boxes. (RELATED: Michigan Republicans Go After Tax-Funded Union Work)

Rather than allowing members to quit by simply sending a resignation notice to the MEA’s main office, the MEA is now requiring members to send their notices to PO Box 51 in East Lansing, Michigan, which doesn’t appear to serve any other purpose.

The notification regarding the new PO Box is buried at the very bottom of the “Members Only” page of the MEA’s website, and according to the Michigan Capitol Confidential it appears nowhere else on the site. The PO Box is also never mentioned in the April or August issues of the MEA Voice, the union’s magazine. (RELATED: This Union Actually Believes In Right-To-Work Laws)

Some members who attempted to resign through the wrong address even received letters notifying them of the error, making it clear that MEA knew they wanted out, but was simply throwing up barriers to keep them from departing.

The MEA’s ploy appears to have been somewhat successful. While the move took effect in early June, it was only noticed and publicized by The Mackinac Center for Public Policy in August, with the deadline to leave the MEA only days away.

It remains to be seen whether MEA’s sneaky move will keep the union from losing more members. Despite the limited window of departure, 5,000 members quit the union in 2014.

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