Teachers rallied against right-to-work in December in Lansing.

School unions and administrators in Michigan were very busy early this year. At least 145 Michigan school districts signed right-to-work-dodging contracts that lock union members into paying dues or fees as a condition of employment.

Unions tried to get new contracts signed before March 28 when the state's right-to-work law went to effect. When contracts expire, union members in Michigan can exercise their right to get out of their union.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has been using the Freedom of Information Act to keep track of how many school districts signed new contracts.

"Our count is not exhaustive," said Michael Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center. "There are a few districts still working to get back to us and others that we might have missed.

"Some districts clearly used this opportunity to get concessions from unions, essentially trading off school employees' new rights to not financially support a union for fiscally stability," Van Beek continued. "Others, though, didn't seem to require much or any concessions from the unions, but signed off on the deal anyway. In those cases it's hard to see the beneficiaries of the deal being anybody other than the union bosses."

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

Some of the 145 districts that signed right-to-work dodging contracts agreed to more than just one. At least 260 different union contracts were signed during the roughly three-months between when the law was signed in December and when it went into effect.

"I'd estimate that about 10 percent of these were just coincidental and not motivated by right-to-work," Van Beek said.

The following are some examples of the union contracts that were signed:

  • Wayne-Westland ratified new contracts for eight different employee groups over this period;
  • Fraser and Macomb Intermediate School Districts each did six contracts;
  • Dearborn did a contract with administrators that expires July 1, 2023;
  • Van Dyke signed a contract with office personnel that runs until June 30, 2021, and specifically binds the parties and their successors; and
  • Hartland signed three contracts that don’t expire until 2020.


See also:

Michigan Capitol Confidential Coverage of Right-to-Work

Related Articles:

Teacher Sues Union Over Right-to-Work

Americans are Moving to Right-to-Work States

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

Mackinac Center Files Amicus in Pivotal Right-to-Work Case

Michigan’s Largest Teachers Union Has Lost 25 Percent of Its Members

Teachers in Taylor Win Final Right-to-Work Battle

Stay Engaged

Simply enter your email below to receive our weekly email:


Renting out the family summer cottage is a common practice in Michigan, and with today’s technologies, it’s easier than ever, empowered by services like AirBnB, HomeAway, VRBO and more. These short-term rentals mean vacationers can find a place much more easily and inexpensively, while owners can earn some extra money. It seems like a win-win. Not everyone agrees. Some in the accommodations and tourism industries aren’t happy with the increased competition and are advocating for limiting people’s rights to rent out their homes. Some homeowner associations are pushing back as well. And while cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids have mostly embraced home sharing, some local governments have restricted and even banned the practice.

Related Sites