Teachers Union Said They Were Done Losing Members (They’ve Lost 17K Since)

MEA membership is down to 90,000 from 117,000 before right-to-work

By 2015, two years after Michigan had become a right-to-work state, the state’s largest teachers union said it was no longer losing members. The Michigan Education Association (MEA) had spent those two years erecting obstacles to members seeking to leave. The obstacles included maintaining a narrow annual opt-out window (now illegal), attempting to damage the credit rating of teachers who exercised their right to not pay dues and in some cases, bullying people who wanted to leave.

In January 2015, the Detroit Free Press reported:

Last year, the Michigan Education Association lost nearly 5,000 members as its membership ranks dropped to 110,000 during a highly publicized one-month window that the union’s teachers had to leave the union.

Nancy Knight, director of communications and public policy for the Michigan Education Association, said the union’s membership decline came after an intense, summer-long campaign waged by the Mackinac Center that targeted the union’s members.

“We feel that all of those members that intended to leave did leave,” Knight said. “We do not anticipate a future decline in membership.”

ForTheRecord says: Unions are required to file annual reports with the federal government, and the MEA’s most recent one was released this week. It reveals that membership is still on the decline. In 2012 (before right-to-work), the union had 117,265 members. The number fell to 113,147 in 2013; 107,868 in 2014; 94,559 in 2015 and 90,609 in 2016.

In other words, another 17,000 people have left the union in the two years since the MEA said it expected no further declines. That’s nearly a quarter of its currently employed members.