Union officials at Central Michigan Univ. must go to court

Michael P. Tremoglie Jun. 13, 2012, 7:00am


LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - A temporary instructor at Central Michigan University has filed a charge with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission against the CMU's Union of Teaching Faculty for allegedly confiscating union dues payments from her and her coworkers' paychecks.

Nancy Rusch of St. Louis filed her charge with the MERC in mid-April. MERC investigated the charge and issued a complaint against the UTF union last week. A hearing is scheduled for later this summer.

Michigan does not have a right-to-work law, which makes union affiliation completely voluntary. Because of this, Rusch, who did not join a formal union, must still pay part of the union's dues. But, she is not required to pay union dues or fees for union boss political activities, lobbying and member-only events.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson that union officials must provide public workers with an independently audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures. This report helps tell workers how their union dues and fees are being spent and makes it a little less difficult for workers to hold union officials accountable.

"Union bosses are deliberately keeping rank-and-file workers in the dark to keep their forced-dues gravy train going," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which provided free legal assistance to the employee. "To prevent these types of forced unionism abuses in the future, Michigan needs to pass a Right to Work law making union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary."

Twenty-three states have Right to Work protections for workers.

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