NRTW’s Michigan Dues Check-Off Victory, Big Labor “Window Periods” Shattered
When employees decide to end their union membership, Big Labor bosses often use several tricks attempting to force them to stay. Union bosses often try to use illegal membership withdrawal window periods. A “window period” is an artificially created period of time that “permits” someone to take a course of action like resigning from a union during a specified time period like “only during the fourth full moon of the year.” Under federal labor law and the state’s Right to Work law, you have the right to resign from membership in a union at any time. Member resignation windows have a very long legal history of being invalid. And, union bosses have another trick known as the “dues check off window” used to force people to continue paying dues long after they resign.
However, Pauline Beutler’s case has created legal precedence in Michigan eliminating the Teamsters’ union dues check off window scheme. Now, Michigan public sector employees can stop union officials from reaching into their paychecks even after they resign. This is a big victory that confirms Michigander’s rights and expands their freedom from compulsory unionism.
(Note: While you may resign from union membership at anytime, you may be limited to a specific “window period” before you are able to end the automatic dues deductions. If that is what you are told, ask the union for a copy of the actual dues deduction card that you signed, and contact the National Right to Work Foundation for further information.)
School Bus Driver Wins Precedent: Michigan Public Employees Can Stop Paying Union Dues at Any Time
Howell, MI (June 10, 2015) – Yesterday, the Michigan Employee Relations Commission (MERC) unanimously decided to strike down a Teamster Local 214 policy that required Pauline Beutler and other employees to wait for a union-designated “window period” to stop paying union dues. Beutler, a school bus driver with the Livingston Education Service Agency, challenged the Teamsters’ policy with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
Beutler filed charges with the MERC against the Teamsters in October 2013 after she attempted to leave the union and stop paying union dues. Instead of complying with Beutler’s request, union officials told her that she would have to wait until July 2014 before she could revoke her dues deduction authorization and stop paying union dues. A dues deduction authorization is a document union officials use to collect dues or fees directly from workers’ paychecks.
Beutler argued that Michigan’s Right to Work law, which went into effect in March 2013, invalidates the union’s window period requirement. Under the new law, employees have the right to resign their formal union membership and stop financially supporting a union at any time.
Although the MERC ruled in the case during a hearing on June 9, the official written decision is not expected until later this summer. By striking down Local 214’s window period, the MERC has established a precedent that any government union restriction on dues deduction revocations violates the state’s public sector Right to Work law.
In addition to Beutler’s case, Foundation staff attorneys are helping several other Michigan employees assert their newly-enshrined workplace rights. Foundation litigators are also defending Michigan’s Right to Work laws in state and federal court from union legal counter-attacks.
“Across the state, union bosses are attempting to circumvent Michigan’s recently-enacted Right to Work laws,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “We are offering free legal assistance to any Michigan employee whose newly-enshrined rights have been ignored or violated by union officials.”
“Passing Michigan’s Right to Work laws was only the first step,” continued Mix. “Without vigorous enforcement, these vital reforms will be hollowed out by scofflaw union bosses. That is why we are proud to help Michigan employees stand up for their rights in court.”