Local Union Prez: 'We have fewer members exercising RTW than we had fee payers with the MEA'
ALLENDALE — Support staff and technical workers at Grand Valley State University are negotiating their first contract since decertifying from the Michigan Education Association in January.
The group formed its own independent union called the Alliance of Professional Support Staff (APSS). President Coreen Bedford said employees are much more favorable to the new union.
"We have fewer members exercising right-to-work than we had fee payers with the MEA," she said.
Bedford believes had the group not formed its own union, many more members under the MEA would have opted out.
She believes that over the years the MEA failed to represent the best interests of the group, primarily because of its focus on K-12 units and political activities. She said their new union has hired an attorney at a fraction of the cost of dues and will be representing them at the bargaining table.
Bedford says she has spoken to at least one other MEA group in higher education considering decertification and forming an independent union. At the K-12 level, teachers in Roscommon followed a similar path; decertifying to obtain better service at a lower cost.
"My message to others who are thinking of going through this is 'don't wait,'" Bedford added. "You're just wasting your money ... because there is a perception of what they are able to provide you with and then there is the reality. Take a hard look at that reality."