Michigan legislature, governor moving to stop automatic payroll deduction dues payment for teacher unions

The Republican attack on teacher unions continued, with the Michigan House of Representatives voting this week to approve a resolution that will deprive teacher unions of the right to deduct union dues from teacher paychecks. The process, called "dues checkoff," has been in place for as long as anyone can remember. If the bill passes the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate, it is expected to be singed into law by Republican Governor Rick Snyder.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.One report on the legislation was published in the Detroit News.

House passes bill barring districts from deducting teachers' union dues. Karen Bouffard/ Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — School districts would be barred from deducting union dues from teachers' paychecks under a bill that narrowly passed in the House this afternoon.

The bill passed 55-53, with most Republicans supporting the measure and most Democrats opposed.

Republicans said money now deducted for union dues will now go into teachers pockets so they will have the option of not paying if they don't want to. Democrats argued the measure won't save any money, and is meant to undermine unions.

"I don't understand how giving people money back in their paycheck is a bad thing," said Rep. Joe Haveman, R-Holland, the bill's primary sponsor. "It makes them more accountable.

"It's better if they have to make that conscious decision on a monthly basis (to pay their union dues.)"

Rep. Maureen Stapleton, D-Detroit, a former Detroit Public Schools teacher, said the bill "makes no sense."

"This bill does nothing more than … hurt teachers and inconvenience them," Stapleton said. "It's a code in a computer system to generates those payments — it costs nothing and won't save a dime.

"Why would anyone want to continue to be a teacher in the state of Michigan today?"

The bill still needs to be passed by the Republican-controlled Senate and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder to become law.


September 18, 2011 at 10:11 AM

By: Jean R Schwab

Rick Snyder

A good article would be about the struggle of of the cities (in Michigan) that have been taken hostage by "city managers" such as the city of Benton Harbor. Freddie Pinkney is a community leader who is fighting the growing takeover by the "city manager" chosen by the state. Education is not the only place that the regular citizen has lost their voice in their own community.

September 18, 2011 at 10:06 PM

By: Jay Rehak

Just Pure Union Busting

It's important to understand that when a government is "broke" or is cash strapped, not everyone loses. Certainly, it appears, public sector workers take a hit, with cries all around that government workers are too expensive and should take a pay cut. But, in truth, when a government cries poor, although workers lose, the great beneficiaries are bondholders, those people in our society who have the money to "lend the government money."

And so, it is important to understand that the attempt by the Michigan Legislature to undermine teachers' unions is part of a national campaign to weaken the rights of all workers and to "blame the victim for the crime."

It is an orchestrated attempt by politicians and those who finance them to shift the public's gaze from those who make a fortune by loaning money to governments, and those who are simply trying to make a living by doing honest work.

As a teacher, I resent being scapegoated by politicians who helped to bankrupt the governments they manage. Local, State and Federal governments are cash strapped not because of Union wages which allow people affordable health care coverage, a reasonable chance at a pension, and a living wage (which all workers deserve, not only those in Unions) but because bankers and investors created a series of exotic financial instruments which blew up in 2008 and caused a worldwide financial meltdown.

Teachers and other public sector employees did not bankrupt the country, nor were we made "whole" by a government bailout. It is the Privateers and Profiteers who caused the problem nd ultimately were saved by the government via a bailout.

It's time we all took a look around and see who wins and who loses when the government claims itis "broke" and needs to "borrow money."

The Michigan legislators are trying to feed on public fear and anxiety about the economy. Let's not forget how we got where we are.

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