A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Right-to-Work Gives Teachers a Choice

Unions aren't the only option if employees want protection

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As Michigan transitions to a right-to-work state, the main benefit for teachers and others is that they will not be forced to financially support a union as a condition of employment.

Probably the biggest complaint from public school teachers about their union is the amount of money spent on politics — and where that money goes. This shouldn’t be surprising: The National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the country, took a survey of its membership a few years back and found that a strong majority classify themselves as politically “conservative.”

Yet at the same time, the Michigan Education Association endorsed 97 percent Democrats while the union pushes all sorts of left-wing social issues — from Obamacare to race-based preferences to the federal “stimulus” program.

One consideration for teachers would be to follow the educators in Roscommon and sever ties with the MEA by forming a local association. But there are other ways for teachers to get the benefits of union membership while avoiding paying money to a political group with whom they disagree.

The Association of American Educators is one of several non-union teacher association alternatives. AAE provides liability insurance, legal counsel and other resources for teachers with voluntary professional fees significantly less than what they would pay in dues to a labor union.

Here is a video of some Wisconsin teachers talking about their experience with traditional public employee unions and why they switched to AAE:

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Star International Academy is the highest ranked high school in Michigan on the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's Contest and Performance report card for both 2014 and 2012. The study and a database of every school in the state can be found at www.Mackinac.org/CAP.

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