News Story

MEA head boasts of membership growth, but numbers tell a different story

Among non-retirees, MEA membership is declining

The Michigan Education Association announced a drop in 2023 membership numbers less than a month after union president Chandra Madafferi said membership is on the upswing.

“We have signed up more members this fall, year over year, than we have in the last five, six, seven years – a long time,” Madafferi told The Detroit News in a Nov. 12 story. Madaferri took her post in July.

But a federal filing at the end of the month told a different story. The MEA currently has 78,817 non-retired/non-trainee members. It had 79,837 such members in 2022 — meaning the latest number is a 1,020 member decrease, according to the organization’s LM-2, a mandatory report filed with the U.S. Office of Labor-Management Standards. The newly released membership numbers are among the lowest ever recorded.

The decline in membership over the past year has cost the union around $668,100 in dues, at $655 per lost member.

The flight from the teachers union came even though teacher employment has spiked in Michigan. There were more teachers in 2022 and 2023 than in any year since 2008.

Michigan had 111,419 teachers in 2008. That number rose to 115,800 in 2022 and to 113,845 this year. The number of teachers employed by Michigan public schools has increased even though enrollment dropped from 1,645,742 students in 2008 to 1,437,279 this year.

The MEA had 117,265 members in 2012. Membership fell to 78,475 by 2020. The union did see a spike in 2020, with 83,344 members reported. That figure has since decreased by 4,527.

Madafferi did not respond to a request for comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.