Teacher Unions’ Smoke and Mirrors Illusions

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Michael J. Reitz, of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, sets the record straight on teacher unions’ framing of their membership rolls and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation-won Janus v AFSCME decision freeing all teachers from the yoke of forced dues in the Wall Street Journal.   He cites window periods, which the Foundation has litigated against even before the Janus decision, and the hard work of the National Right to Work Committee in passing a Right to Work Law in Michigan.

Some labor unions have triumphantly announced that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. Afscme has had little effect on their membership and ability to financially support progressive causes. Of course, many union officials are currently doing everything they can to block people from leaving, including using restrictive “opt out windows.” Still, to the extent that more members are staying because the union is providing them with genuine value, then more power to them.

Here in Michigan, we’ve seen this act before. Less than a year after Michigan became a right-to-work state, the president of the state’s largest public-sector union bragged about retaining 99% of its members. But five years later, the Michigan Education Association has lost almost 30,000 members. In fact, all of Michigan’s major government unions have lost at least 20% of their membership since the right-to-work law passed.