Michigan Teacher Union Officials Spend Recklessly

And now, teacher union members can do something about it.  The newly-passed Michigan Right To Work Law will allow teachers to simply refrain from membership should they wish to.  With the millions that Michigan Education officials spend on themselves, perhaps all Michigan teachers will stop and take a good look at what their dues are paying for.

Tom Gantert, Michigan Capitol confidential, has the story.

The reports the MEA filed with the IRS show that it spent $16.6 million on representational activities in 2011, and $15.2 million in 2012, an 8.4 percent decline. The MEA’s costs for its own employees’ benefits increased from $21.6 million in 2011 to $24.1 million in 2012, an 11.5 percent increase.

Representational activities (money spent on bargaining for contracts for members) made up 11 percent of total spending, while spending on “general overhead” (union administration and union employee benefits) comprised 61 percent of total spending.

Although overall spending was down by about $6 million from 2011, direct spending on political activities and union employee benefits increased.

Michigan’s new right-to-work law, which goes into effect in late March, will allow public school employees to decide whether they want to pay dues or fees to the union without the threat of being fired for not paying. Teachers and other unionized school employees will get that choice after the law goes into effect and once their current contract expires.

“Dues-paying members have to ask themselves, ‘What are we getting?’,” said Michael Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “It gets to the question, ‘Does the MEA exist to benefit its members or does the MEA exist to enrich itself?’ It looks like they are prioritizing enriching themselves.”

MEA Spokesman Doug Pratt didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The MEA has net negative assets of $159.3 million as of Aug. 31. The union lost $48 million in assets in the past year.

The MEA collected $62.7 million in dues in 2011, but saw that drop to $61.8 million in 2012.