‘This is a great example for other workers who are victims of Big Labor’s coercive tactics…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) A prominent right-to-work group has successfully defended two Michigan public school employees who were harassed for years by the state teachers’ union—over union dues they did not owe.
Now, every other state public school worker in their shoes is also off the hook.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Linda Gervais and Tammy Williams, both public school employees who resigned their membership in the Michigan Education Association in September 2013.
Nine months earlier the Michigan legislature passed a landmark right-to-work law giving workers the opportunity not to join a union, or pay dues and fees, as a condition of employment.
But the state teachers’ union wasn’t about to let the women just walk away free of charge.
MEA officials claimed Gervais and Williams missed their “window period” to opt out. As a result, they were free to leave the teachers’ union, but they would still have to pay membership dues.
Similarly, the foundation is the suing powerful Los Angeles teachers’ union over the same window period canard, which amounts to skimming money from worker paychecks with their consent.
Gervais and Williams refused to pay the dues and have been harassed ever since—that is, until Tuesday.
“This is a great example for other workers who are victims of Big Labor’s coercive tactics,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, in a statement.
MEA officials had bullied the women dozens of times and demanded hundreds of dollars’ worth of back dues that the women were under no legal obligation to pay. Union agents even threatened to take them to court.
But when faced with a real prospect of going to court against the foundation, the union buckled.
On Tuesday, the MEA entered a class-action settlement that only finalizes Gervais and Williams’ union resignations without additional bogus charges, but the MEA must now stop demanding window period dues from all other workers who resigned their union membership, provided schools workers notify the MEA within one-year of the Feb. 5 settlement date.
“As the union bosses’ attempt to counteract Michigan’s Right to Work law demonstrates, although union membership and financial support is voluntary under the law, that doesn’t mean Big Labor will obey that law,” said Mix.