Teacher's Union Claims Member's Scalp

Kyle Olson

1/8/2011 12:01:00 AM - Kyle Olson

The Grand Rapids Education Association, a local affiliate of Michigan’s largest teachers’ union, is attempting to pick off one-by-one 90-some members that have refused to pay their dues.

About 18 months ago, the school board voted to no longer deduct dues from employees’ paychecks, which meant union members had to physically write a check to the union. Many saw it as their opportunity to protest the obnoxious behavior of union leaders during a previous contract negotiation period. The union president, Paul Helder, was particularly pompous during negotiations, claiming the union was fighting a “war on terrorism.” He even established “War Time Committees” to organize the fight against the school board and administrators.

Marjorie Hayward objected to her president’s behavior and refused to pay up. So the union took her to small claims court.

An EAGtv story can be seen here.

The judge, citing the fact that Michigan is not a right-to-work state, ruled she has to fork over the money, regardless of whether or not the union is representing her interests.

Let that marinate for a bit – because of current Michigan law, the union has the right to take a school employee to court and extract money out of her. Isn’t that grand?

If there is ever an opportunity to make Michigan a right-to-work state, this is it.

The arrogance of the union is unparalleled. Tim Nendorf of the MEA told a TV station after Thursday’s court hearing that, “People have to meet our obligations. We gave two years to try and allow people to meet those obligations. At a certain point unfortunately it had to come to this and take this action."

He told another station, “we didn’t want to go after all 90 in one court room, in one setting, so we filed on five folks and we’ll be continuing to do so to be sure people can meet their obligations.”

So heads up band of 90: the union is going to attempt to pick you off one at a time. This is the perfect opportunity for the teachers to file a class-action lawsuit against the union, citing the fact that the union did not represent their interests.

This could be the first move in the process of empowering workers to be free to choose whether or not to support such organizations with their hard-earned money in the state of Michigan, the long-time nest of Big Labor.