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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Michigan Education Association Member Miriam Chanski Sues To Opt Out of The Union

This post is for all UFT members in NYC:
Miriam Chanski

Michigan teacher suing for her right to drop out of the local union

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By Victor Skinner
COOPERSVILLE, Mich. – A Coopersville, Michigan kindergarten teacher is standing up to the Michigan Education Association over her right to opt out of the union, despite union threats to destroy her credit.

suing MEAMiriam Chanski, 24, attempted to drop out of the MEA teachers union this May after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder approved legislation making Michigan a right-to-work state. But Chanski told WZZM television station the union responded with a letter two months later rejecting her request.
The MEA, like most teachers unions, only allows members a very small window of time to drop their memberships each year – for the MEA it’s the month of August – and requires specific paperwork to complete the request. Most teachers are unaware of the technical process, and Chanski is no exception.
Chanski is now embroiled in a legal battle to win her freedom from the MEA.
At least seven other Michigan teachers were also unaware of the union drop policy, and are also suing for their freedom.
The ridiculous rules are obviously designed to prevent members from leaving, but teachers unions also use other tactics to keep members in line.
“In September, the president of our union came into my classroom before school and told me she was aware I wanted to opt out of the union and asked if I had sent in another form in August,” Chanski told WZZM. “I told her I was unaware of another form to send in, I was unaware of the August dates, and she told me at that point if I had not sent in that form, I might have missed my chance to opt out of the
The local union president then allegedly threatened to turn the teacher in to a collection agency and ruin her credit if she didn’t pay her union dues, Chanski told the television station.
Chanski said the bottom line is “I chose to opt out and it’s not being honored.”
Chanski and the other teachers suing the MEA for their freedom are beacons of hope in an education system rife with bureaucratic red tape and nonsensical union rules. While Chanski certainly isn’t the first teacher to be threatened and intimidated into paying for union services she never asked for, her story serves as an inspiration for other teachers who have been bullied by their unions.
Right-to-work laws mean employees are not required to join a labor union as a condition of employment, and the union’s insistence on playing petty games to keep members enrolled is not winning them any fans.
What are the unions proving by holding their unhappy members captive? Nobody should be forced to belong to any organization against their will.

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