Michigan Union Officials Still Attempting An End Run Around Right To Work

Taylor Public Schools union officials and Board of Education are attempting another end run around Michigan’s Right To Work Law, by negotiating a 5-year contract.  

Ignoring any constitutional obligation, as employers of the district’s teachers, to protect their First Amendment rights, the Board of Education cowered in the corner instead of facing Republican legislators when confronted with the egregious contract.  

It should have been no surprise AFT/TFT officials didn’t show up to defend the indefensible.  Teacher union officials would be receiving just desserts if every teacher in the district made a bolt for freedom by becoming forced dues objectors.

Jonathan Oosting, at mlive.com, has the story. 

State Rep. Tom McMillin of Rochester Hills on Tuesday called the Taylor Board of Education and Taylor Federation of Teachers to testify before the House Oversight Committee and explain the district’s new five-year contract, which includes an extended 10-year “union security clause.”

“It’s highly unusual, a ten-year deal for something like this that’s clearly designed to get around a recent law,” McMillin told reporters after both groups declined his invitation. “What was the give and take? What did taxpayers get?”

Rather than testify, the Taylor School Board and union sent documents explaining how the contract was negotiated “through the hard work and diligence of both parties.” The cost-cutting deal, spurred by rejection of a deficit elimination plan that jeopardized the district’s state funding, included a 10-percent wage cut for staff during the first three years followed by modest raises the next two.

Michigan’s new right-to-work law, approved in December’s lame-duck session by the Republican led legislature and signed the same day by Gov. Rick Snyder, prohibits the negotiation of new contracts requiring union dues or fees as a condition of employment. But the law does not take effect until March 27 and does not impact contracts ratified before that date.

McMillin denied the accusation of political grandstanding and defended the oversight committee’s duty to explore the use of taxpayer funds and examine whether the union was working to protect its own interests or that of its members.

Wayne State University on Tuesday reached a tentative eight-year agreement with the union representing its staff. Noting the length of the deal, McMillin said it would be a “legitimate and logical next step” to invite university and union officials to testify before the committee.

The length of the agreement, however, raised eyebrows in Lansing. Republican state Rep. Al Pscholka of Stevensville called it “a slap in the face to hard-working students and families” trying to attend the university. “It appears to be constructed specifically to restrict the freedom of employees at Wayne State and forces them to pay union dues for the next eight years regardless of their membership in the union, which is an obvious and intentional circumvention of the law.”