GRAND RAPIDS — Nearly 100 teachers stopped paying union dues to the Grand Rapids Education Association once automatic payroll deductions were no longer in place, and the union has taken four of them to court over the matter, according to The Grand Rapids Press. One teacher said she didn’t pay dues on principle, The Press reported.

Grand Rapids Public Schools typically collects dues on behalf of the union, but temporarily stopped doing so for parts of 2008 and 2009 during contentious contract negotiations, The Press reported. During that time teachers were supposed to pay the dues on their own, the report said, but a union official said that nearly 100 did not.

One case was resolved recently when an elementary teacher agreed to pay $100 a month to the GREA toward $980 in back dues, The Press reported. Marjorie Hayward, who teaches children with autism, said she quit paying dues during a period when the union failed to represent her and other members accurately, The Press reported.

"This was something I needed to do based on principle, in hopes of things happening differently in the future," Hayward said after a court hearing, The Press reported. "My biggest concern at the time was their (GREA) insistence of wanting more money and benefits when everyone else in the state was having to make do with less because of the economy."

The union took Hayward to court, where the judge tentatively set up a payment schedule for her of $100 per month, The Press reported.

Tim Nendorf, a Michigan Education Association Uniserv director who represented the union, said that four other teachers were taken to court, but settled, and that 90 more owe back dues.

SOURCE:
The Grand Rapids Press, “Grand Rapids teacher sued by union over dues says group failed to represent her accurately,” Jan. 6, 2011

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “August in Michigan is Teacher Freedom Month,” Aug. 3, 2010

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