School Union Proposes 9-Year Contract To Prevent Members From Exercising Right To Not Pay Dues

Berkley Education Association tries to avoid right-to-work law

The Berkley Education Association is considering a collective bargaining agreement that would run through June 30, 2022 that would prevent its members from having the right to opt out of the union. 

The teachers' union has proposed a 9-year "agency fee agreement" that would give the school district the power to deduct dues from the union member's salary. If deducting dues were to be deemed unlawful, the union member could be fired. And if it were unlawful for the union member to be fired, a clause in the contract would allow the union the right “to pursue any other lawful remedies.”

Locking in the contract change before March 27 would prevent union members from benefiting from the state's new right-to-work law, which gives workers the right to not pay dues or fees as a condition of employment.

The Berkley Education Association isn't the first union to try a 9-year contract extension that would skirt the state's right-to-work laws that allows employees the choice as to whether to join a union. The Western Michigan University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (WMU-AAUP) also is considering a similar contract provision.  

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

"Many school boards have been subservient to the unions for so long, we can expect them to pull out all stops to prevent change," said Leon Drolet, chair of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. "This is further evidence that school boards don't negotiate with teacher unions, they collude with them. Winning with the legislature doesn't end the fight for change. There are some school boards who are willing to be the last Japanese soldier on the last island fighting World War II."

Michigan Capitol Confidential received a draft of the memo that a law firm was asked to review by an Oakland Schools official. The law firm confirmed they reviewed the proposed agreement.

Berkley School Board President Paul Ellison didn’t respond to a request for comment. School Board Vice President Randy Travis referred comment to the school district spokeswoman.

Berkley School District Spokeswoman Jessica Stilger said in an email: "The Berkley School District administration has an excellent relationship with all bargaining units, and will continue to do so with right-to-work legislation. At the moment, the BEA has presented administration with many proposals and all will be considered. However, union negotiations are ongoing and confidential."

Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, called the tactic legally "questionable."

"If 9-year collective bargaining agreements were such a good idea, why haven't they been done before?" Wright said.


See also:

Western Michigan University Union Wants Contract Through 2023 To Avoid Right-to-Work Law

Facts On Right to Work vs. Forced Unionization States

Republican Senators Against Right-to-Work

Republican House Members Against Right-to-Work

Right-to-Work Law Would Help Ensure Government Unions Could Not Elect Their Own Bosses

Union Right-to-Work Protest Turns Violent

Union Leaders: 'There Is Going To Be Retribution'

Employees In Right-to-Work States Are Richer

Related Articles:

Free The Unions — Let Workers Who Don't Pay Represent Themselves

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Pivotal Right-to-Work Case

Another Judge Upholds Teachers’ Right-to-Work Status; Faults Union’s Tactics

West Virginia House Vote Could Tip National Scale on Right-to-Work

Court Rules in Favor of Mackinac Center Clients

Don’t Limit Workers’ Right to Work

Stay Engaged

Simply enter your email below to receive our weekly email:


There aren’t many policies that get near unanimous support from economists, but free trade is one of them. Despite this, a central theme of the 2016 presidential campaign, heard from both political parties, was that free trade was somehow harmful to the United States and corrective action was needed. Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint and scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, makes the case for why President Trump’s assessment of free trade is misguided.

Related Sites