Unions Squeeze Workers in Michigan

Despite passage of a Right to Work law, old habits die hard in Michigan as union bosses mislead and lie to their members about whether they can be fired for not paying tribute to the union, News Channel 3 reports:

The recent right-to-work law is raising questions for one man who left his labor union. It was a controversial topic from the start, as thousands of protestors spent days in Lansing, arguing both sides of the issue. But now, as right-to-work begins to take effect, some workers are confused about what it means for them. A worker at a plant in Paw Paw decided he wanted to leave his labor union, but what he found was the union telling him he could go, but he’d have to keep paying dues. Ed Anders has worked at Knouse Foods in Paw Paw for years. “When I hired in there, you didn’t work there unless you were in the union, so I accepted that; I played by the rules,” Anders said. When Governor Snyder signed the right-to-work law, though, the rules changed, and workers could now choose whether or not they want to be part of the union. “They’ve never done nothing for me,” Anders alleged. “Just took my money–that’s it.” So, Anders decided to do something about it. He sent out certified letters outlining his plans to leave the union, and stop paying dues. What he got back, though, was a letter accepting his withdrawal from the union, but telling him he still has to pay dues. Newschannel 3 was told that if Anders had a contract that was in place prior to March 28th, then right-to-work wouldn’t apply until that contract expires. But it has expired, running out on May 11th of this year, more than a week after Anders submitted his resignation. “I don’t think it’s fair; no–I believe I should have the right to get out of the union,” Anders said. But at this point, the dues are still coming out of his paycheck. The state says that if Anders hasn’t signed anything saying he must pay a fee as condition of employment, then he can’t be fired for not paying. Newschannel 3 has tried to call the union since Thursday to get their side of the issue, but we have yet to hear anything back.