To opt out of MCO dues:
- Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
- On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
- Print the form. If you check the appropriate box about needing a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
- Sign and date the form.
- Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
The Michigan Corrections Organization (MCO)/SEIU Local 526M is the designated union for approximately 6,000 state corrections officers and other employees of the Michigan Department of Corrections.
In the past, public employees in Michigan could be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, allowing unions like MCO to take their members for granted. However, because Michigan is now a “right-to-work” state, public employees can no longer be required to financially support a labor union against their will.
Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME reaffirmed that all public employees have a constitutional right to choose for themselves whether to pay any union dues or fees.
You can opt out of MCO dues by filling out the form above, printing it and mailing it to the union.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should receive some acknowledgement of your request from the union within a few weeks.
In most cases, union dues are automatically deducted from employees’ paychecks. Monitor your paychecks to make sure the dues deductions stop. If the deductions continue for more than a couple pay periods after submitting your opt-out request, contact the union.
Finally, keep in mind:
Opting out is your constitutional right. However, unions like MCO/SEIU Local 526M sometimes place restrictions on when they will accept opt-out requests. If the union refuses to immediately cancel dues deductions from your pay, ask them to provide you with written documentation and contact us for assistance.
According to the union’s bylaws, MCO dues are at least $46 per month, or $552 per year.
Yes. MCO has arranged to be the “exclusive representative” of its bargaining units, meaning it is impossible for workers to get out of the terms of the contract, even if they cease paying dues.
In exchange for the monopoly on this particular service, MCO is legally obligated to represent all employees in the workplace, including those who choose not to join the union as members.
The collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union and your employer will continue to set the terms and conditions of your employment and the union will continue to represent you in grievances, contract enforcement, discipline assistance or other proceedings governed by the collective bargaining agreement.
No. Under state law, a union contract is binding on all employees in a bargaining unit, regardless of whether they are technically union “members.” Your compensation, health benefits, retirement, and anything else governed by the collective bargaining agreement will remain unchanged if you opt out of MCO/SEIU Local 526M.
While the terms of the contract will still govern your employment, union officials commonly prohibit nonmembers from participating in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings, voting for union officers or participating in contract ratification votes. You’ll also be ineligible for any special “members only” benefits, such as discounts on additional insurance, scholarship programs, or deals the union has arranged with businesses. You may no longer receive the union newsletter or similar publications.
People have many reasons for not wanting to support the union. Some simply do not believe the services the union provides are worth the dues it charges. Others may find the union’s one-size-fits-all agenda does not serve them well because they are new to the profession, have a specialty that is not acknowledged in bargaining, or they believe their effectiveness is undercompensated. Some resent the union’s role in enabling and defending underperforming employees. Many find the union’s political activity and use of dues to advance partisan causes, candidates and ideology distasteful. Still others believe that union officials are corrupt and unaccountable to their membership.
Unions representing public employees are not governed by the usual consumer protection or anti-trust laws, so abuses are common. Unions can charge whatever they wish. They can spend dues money on anything they want. Often, they do not have to disclose how dues money is spent to members. They can speak for employees without consulting or informing them. They can injure some members’ interests while advancing the interests of others. Unions even have the ability to prevent employees from getting help in their workplace from other sources. They are not governed by any obligation to provide quality service, and almost never have to seek approval of the people they represent in an election to continue as the exclusive representative.
Sometimes people have a faith-based objection to unions’ expenditures. To learn more about some of the major public unions’ expenditures in light of common faith beliefs, click here.
MCO collected $3.2 million in dues and fees from its members in 2020, according to reports the union must file with the IRS.
In 2020 alone:
- $928,948 million went to affiliated organizations, including the SEIU international headquarters in Washington, D.C., to support its massive political, economic and social agenda. SEIU regularly supports a host of controversial organizations. For example, Planned Parenthood received $50,000 from the SEIU headquarters in 2019.
- $42,748 was spent by MCO on attorneys and other legal fees.
- $124,110 was spent on union conferences and meetings.
- $45,467 was spent on travel expenses.
MCO paid at least 16 officers and employees in 2020. Executive director Andrew Potter’s compensation was $178,162.
As of December 2020, MCO has accumulated $2.7 million in cash reserves.
MCO’s most recent IRS 990 reports are available here.
A portion of the dues paid by MCO members goes to support SEIU Michigan, a statewide political arm of SEIU.
According to reports it files with the U.S. Dept. of Labor, SEIU Michigan collected $183,293 in dues from its local unions in 2022. It also received an additional $1.4 million from the national SEIU affiliate.
In 2022 alone:
- $1.2 million was spent by SEIU Michigan on political activity and lobbying. This includes $100,000 donated to the Michigan Democratic Party.
- $20,571 was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations.
- $10,142 was spent on hosting a meeting at the Embassy Suites in Livonia, MI.
SEIU Michigan paid eight employees in 2022. SEIU Michigan executive director, Jennifer Root, received $126,031.
Also, SEIU Michigan has accumulated $919,337 in cash reserves, over $500,000 of which was stockpiled just in 2022.
A portion of the dues paid by SEIU Healthcare members also goes to support the SEIU international headquarters.
SEIU National Headquarters
According to federal filings which the union must submit to the US Department of Labor, SEIU national headquarters collected $239 million from its affiliates in 2022.
In that year alone:
- $63.5 million was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
- $4.5 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations.
- $6.3 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff. SEIU’s hotel expenses included a $805,000 bill from the Hilton in Washington DC.
- $36 million was spent on private attorneys and consultants.
- $63,217 was spent on food and catering.
SEIU national headquarters paid 496 employees in 2022, 309 of whom were paid six figures. SEIU’s International President, Mary Kay Henry, was paid $289,587.