Kyle Olson

Several months ago, Education Action Group published a scathing exposé on the Wisconsin Education Association Council-affiliated WEA Trust, a union-contrived insurance entity that is forced upon the majority of Wisconsin schools during collective bargaining negotiations.

It is difficult to determine the extent to which the union benefits from this cozy arrangement, but judging by a similar set-up in Michigan, the union is likely doing very nicely.

In Michigan, the state’s largest teachers union (the Michigan Education Association) owns MESSA, a health insurance company used by the vast majority of public schools in the state.

MESSA has a reputation for being the Cadillac of insurance plans – and for good reason.

When one district successfully switched away from MESSA, it saved big bucks and teachers only lost coverage for “massages, sex-change operations and a treatment for Christian Science practitioners.”

Let that marinate for a moment.

According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, taxpayers were paying for massages and sex-change operations for teachers. Isn’t that grand?

As MESSA, which gives millions of dollars a year to the teachers union, continues to jack up rates each year, school districts have wisely capped how much they will pay for employee health insurance, allowing districts to control costs. If the union still demands its brand, the teachers end up paying the difference.

Well, the union’s chickens are coming home to roost.

Because their union leaders refuse to use a less-expensive health insurance company, some Michigan teachers are about to be socked with substantial health insurance costs. Consider this portion of an e-mail EAG received from an anonymous teacher in a small rural district:

"So I think that our stubborn union people will not open the contract up to change insurance to save some money. Looking at it next year, it will cost me out of my pocket about $6400. Which honestly, with everything I have to pay for, would kill me financially."

So because of a union power play at the bargaining table – and its insistence that members accept its own brand – teachers in this district will be paying $6,400 just so the union can keep the dollars flowing into MESSA’s coffers.

How are those dues dollars working out for you, Michigan teachers?

Kyle Olson

Kyle is founder of Education Action Group and, a news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.

He is co-author of Glenn Beck’s “Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education,” available at

Kyle is a contributor to

He has made appearances on the Fox News Channel, The Blaze, Fox Business Network, NPR and MSNBC. Kyle has given scores of interviews on talk radio programs coast to coast.

Kyle likes talking about his family, as well as his favorite music. Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Neil Young and Johnny Cash are at the top of the list. He has attended 25 Bob Dylan shows.

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