National Right to Work Foundation MEA union bosses drop lawsuit against Ann Arbor teacher and end of dues demands that violate Michigan right to work

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Settlement eliminates MEA officials’ illegal demands for more than $3,000 in dues, becoming school’s latest teacher freed from union collection threats

Ann Arbor, Michigan (July 17, 2020) — Michigan teacher Deborah Wolter has just won a settlement in a case brought against her by labor attorneys for the Michigan Education Association (MEA). Union officials sued her earlier this year for allegedly failing to pay thousands of dollars in back dues, even though they demanded the dues from her after she resigned her union membership. Michigan’s Right to Work law ensures that any employee who fails to formally join a union cannot be required to pay union dues or fees as a condition of obtaining or maintaining employment.

Staff attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation provided free legal aid to Wolter as she defended herself against the union boss’ lawsuit. As a result of the settlement, MEA bosses are required to end their demands for payment of dues, update their records to show that Wolter is not a member of the union and stop contacting her.

MEA bosses sued Wolter in January 2020, filing a lawsuit in Michigan district court, saying Wolter owed more than $3,000 in dues they had charged her since September 2014, and that she “n has not resigned from his membership in [MEA] before incurring debt. Lawyers provided by the Wolter Foundation countered that Wolter owed nothing to the MEA because she had a letter in her files stating that she had resigned her membership in August 2014. This made the union a flagrant violation of the Michigan right to work law.

With this settlement, Wolter is the latest teacher at her school to successfully end illegal union demands for dues arrears with legal help from the Foundation. Last year, Foundation staff attorneys won a victory for two other Wolter school teachers who faced similar demands from Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA) officials, a subsidiary of the MEA. In that case, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the AAEA violated the rights of teachers Jeffrey Finnan and Cory Merante under Michigan’s Right to Work law by requiring them to continue paying dues. unions even though they had resigned from their union membership.

These victories were preceded by a successful settlement won by the Foundation in 2019 for two other Michigan educators, Linda Gervais and Tammy Williams. Gervais and Williams, both of Flint, MI, sued the MEA in federal court for attempting to garnish their dues even after they resigned from their union membership. Union officials claimed they had missed a narrow “escape period” that limited when they could exercise that right, even though a 2014 Michigan Labor Relations Commission (MERC) ruling in another case brought by Foundation staff attorneys declared that the “evasion of period union officials” scheme illegal under Michigan’s right-to-work law. Following the settlement of the Gervais and Williams case, more than a dozen Wolverine State teachers have been cleared of illegal MEA dues claims.

“Once again, a Michigan educator has successfully thwarted an attempt by MEA union bosses to continue collecting dues in flagrant violation of Michigan’s right-to-work law,” commented the president of the National. Right to Work Foundation, Mark Mix. “Foundation staff attorneys have already filed more than 120 cases for Michigan workers since the state’s Right to Work law took effect in 2013, and will file as many more as needed. to ensure Wolverine State employees are fully protected against illegal cash grabs by the union boss. .”

The National Workplace Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory union abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees with approximately 250 cases nationwide per year.

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