Court affirms ruling against union officials who demanded that two Ann Arbor teachers continue to pay union fees after resigning union membership
Ann Arbor, Michigan (March 22, 2019) – Two public school teachers have won a victory at the Michigan Court of Appeals with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys after union officials violated their legal rights.
The court affirmed the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) finding that union officials with the Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA) union, an affiliate of the Michigan Education Association (MEA) union, violated the rights of teachers Jeffrey Finnan and Cory Merante under Michigan’s Right to Work Law by demanding that they continue to pay union fees even though they had resigned their union membership. The teachers both worked for the Ann Arbor School District.
Michigan’s Right to Work statutes, which went into effect in March 2013, protect workers from being forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment and allow workers to cut off all union dues or fees after resigning their union membership.
Finnan and Merante each filed unfair labor practice charges against the AAEA because union officials demanded that they continue paying union fees after resigning union membership. An administrative law judge (ALJ) sided with the teachers, finding that union officials had engaged in unfair labor practices by demanding that the teachers continue to pay union fees.
MERC affirmed the ALJ’s findings and ordered the union to cease and desist from demanding payment of union fees from the nonmembers in violation of their rights.
Union officials appealed, but the Michigan Court of Appeals now has affirmed MERC’s decision. The court agreed that union officials had violated the rights of Finnan and Merante under Michigan’s Right to Work Law to refrain from financially supporting the union.
“This ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals upholds Right to Work protections for workers laid out clearly in state law,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Time and again, Michigan union bosses have demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to obtain membership dues and union fees from the workers they supposedly represent, regardless of workers’ wishes.”
Since Right to Work legislation was signed into state law in December 2012, Foundation staff attorneys have litigated more than 100 cases in Michigan to combat compulsory unionism.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.