Non-Union Teachers Forced to Pay for Union Salaries

Unions are becoming a cancer that needs to be eradicated. Like many cancers, they spread their deadly cells into other facets of life and impose unfair and unwanted agendas and requirements on members and non-members.

In the past I’ve reported how unions bused people to another city to protest against Mitt Romney during the 2012 elections and even fined some union members for not going. A number of unions bused members to Ferguson this past weekend to take part in the racial protests occurring there.

Unions continue to fight in every state to abolish the right to work laws. They insist that people have to be union members and pay dues in order to work to provide for their families. Yet very few, if any, unions will pay their members when they force them to go on strike. The union officials continue to get paid, but the members don’t and it’s not uncommon to see some of them lose their homes and even their families because of the financial strains.

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If all of this isn’t bad enough, how would you like to find out that you are being forced to pay for the salaries of union officials even if you don’t belong to the union?

Adam Neuman just found that out and he’s fighting mad about it. After serving in the Army in Afghanistan, Neuman became a high school teacher in the Brighton Public School District in Michigan, about 40-50 miles northwest of Detroit. In 2012, a new Michigan law allowed teachers to opt out of the union and this past summer; Neuman took that option and resigned his membership from the Brighton Education Association and its parent union, the Michigan Education Association.

The reason he resigned from the union was he believed his dues were being used to support political issues that he did not support. One of those issues was the US military involvement in the Middle East. Neuman had enlisted in the Army because as a teacher of government and civics, he felt he needed to do his part in what he was teaching. After his military service, he returned to teaching and hopefully set an example to his students.

When Neuman got his next paycheck, he saw an $80 deduction from the school district. He inquired into the matter knowing that he should no longer be paying union dues and was shocked to learn that the deduction is not considered dues, but part of a program known as ‘release time’ which is a politically correct way of saying that the deduction is earmarked to pay the salary of the union officials.

Teachers who serve as union representatives or officers receive half of their pay from the school district and half from the union. The release time deductions were built into the teachers’ contract to pay for those salaries and the way the contract was written, all teachers, even non-union members are required to pay into the release time slush fund.

When Neuman discovered this, he was livid. He told the local news:

“I don’t feel that they should be taking money out of my check if I am not part of the union. The law is clear. I’m no longer required to pay dues. It’s as if they are punishing me for not staying in the union.”

Neuman looked into the law and found that it specifies that any union member that opts out of the union is no longer required to financially support the union as a condition of their employment. Financially supporting the union is defined in the law as:

“Any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges or expenses of any kind or amount.”

Neuman further commented about this saying:

“This isn’t about the money. It’s a matter of principle for me. I believe my rights are straightforward and clear.”

With the help of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Neuman has filed a lawsuit against the unions involved. The lawsuit states that the release time deduction charged to a non-union member violates Michigan’s Public Act 53 of 2012.

Patrick J. Wright Vice President of the Mackinac Center commented on the lawsuit, saying:

“What part of opting out does the union not understand? They are not allowed to raid a non-member’s paycheck. Adam fought for freedom overseas, and he just wants to exercise it back home.”

Neuman loves his job and the staff he works with, saying:

“The staff here is great. I have no problems with unions. If others feel that they work in their best interests, then people should be a part of it. For me it’s a personal choice.”

“Liberty is a simple word to say. I prefer to live it.”

And fighting to not be unduly subjected to pay for union support is one liberty Neuman has chosen to fight for. I hope he wins and strikes a blow at cancerous outreaches of the unions.

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