Michigan House Passes School Union Dues Proposal

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Republican-led Michigan House has narrowly approved a proposal that would prohibit public schools from automatically deducting union dues from employee paychecks.

The House approved the measure Thursday by a 55-53 vote. The measure advances to the Republican-led Senate.

Supporters of the bill say it will put more money in teachers’ paychecks, at least up front. Teachers could write checks to unions later to cover their dues.

The union dues proposal, House Bill 4929, was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, who spoke about it last week on the PBS Program Off the Record.

“The teachers union, specifically the Michigan Education Association, have lost their way and public school employees should no longer be forced to join them,” he said.

Opponents say the proposal is another attempt to weaken teachers’ unions and inconvenience teachers in the state. This includes MEA President Steven Cook who called the senator “seriously misguided.”  He called the bill a “blatant abuse of legislative authority to dole out political payback.”

Meantime, a separate proposal that could soon come up in the Michigan Legislature would make Michigan a so-called “right to teach” state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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