Foundation helps teacher respond to Michigan Education Association lawsuit seeking collection of ‘back dues’ from her after she resigned her union membership
Ann Arbor, MI (April 24, 2020) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Ann Arbor-area teacher Deborah Wolter is defending herself against Michigan Educators Association (MEA) union lawyers who filed a lawsuit claiming she owes thousands of dollars in back dues, despite the fact that the purportedly owed dues are for a period after she resigned her union membership. Under Michigan’s Right to Work law, nonmembers cannot be required to make any payments of union dues or fees.
As her response to the union lawsuit notes, Wolter does not owe MEA any dues because she resigned her union membership in August 2014. Because MEA’s demands for dues violate Michigan’s Right to Work law, Wolter’s attorneys are fighting to dismiss the union’s false claims that she owes them anything.
MEA union lawyers are suing Wolter for not paying dues as a nonmember, while Wolter’s attorneys charge the union lawsuit violates Michigan’s Right to Work law—which protects nonmembers from being forced to pay union dues or fees and allows workers to cut off all dues payments after resigning their union membership.
Union lawyers further claim in their lawsuit that Wolter did not resign union membership before she stopped paying dues, despite Wolter’s August 2014 resignation. As her legal filings state, Wolter “terminated her membership in both law and fact,” and therefore does not owe MEA union bosses anything.
Last year, Foundation staff attorneys won a victory for two other teachers at Wolter’s school facing similar demands from officials of the Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA), an MEA affiliate. In that case, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled AAEA violated the rights of teachers Jeffrey Finnan and Cory Merante under Michigan’s Right to Work Law by demanding that they continue to pay union fees even though they had resigned their union membership.
Since Michigan passed its Right to Work law, which became effective in March 2013, Foundation staff attorneys have brought over 120 cases for Michigan workers subjected to coercive union boss tactics.
“It is despicable that Michigan union bosses yet again are demanding forced union dues in violation of Michigan’s Right to Work law,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “The National Right to Work Foundation is proud to stand with Michiganders who are exercising their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law that makes union financial support strictly voluntary.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.