Opt Out Today

MEA

To opt out of MEA dues:

  1. Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
  2. On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
  3. Print the form. If you check the appropriate box about needing a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
  4. Sign and date the form.
  5. Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) is the designated union for approximately 120,000 teachers, education support professionals and college faculty throughout Michigan.

In the past, public employees in Michigan could be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, allowing unions like the MEA 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 MEA dues by filling out the form above, printing it and mailing it to the union.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after I send my resignation to the union?

You should receive some acknowledgement of your request from the union within a few weeks.  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.

How much are MEA dues?

MEA dues are $655 per year, plus $200 in National Education Association (NEA) dues and an additional amount in local union dues.

Will the union continue to represent me if I opt out?

Yes. The MEA 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, the MEA 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.

Will I lose wages, health care, retirement or other benefits if I opt out?

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 the MEA.

How will my relationship with the union change if I opt out?

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.

Why do people opt out of the union?

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 inattentive and unaccountable to their membership.

Unions representing public employees are not governed by the usual consumer protection or anti-trust laws, so abuses are possible. 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.

How does MEA spend my dues money?

Michigan Education Association

MEA collected $48.3 million in dues and fees from its members in fiscal year 2020, according to reports the union must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

In 2020 alone:

  • $4.1 million was spent by MEA on political activities and lobbying.
  • $163,900 was paid or contributed to a variety of outside organizations.
  • $703,000 was spent on attorneys and private consultants.
  • $331,200 was spent on airfare, hotel venues and travel for union staff. This includes $293,000 on hosting a union conference at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.
  • $27,100 was spent on food and catering.

MEA paid 293 officers and employees in 2020, 113 of whom were paid six figures. Executive director Michael Shoudy’s compensation was $266,606.

As of mid-2020, MEA holds a stockpile of $47.6 million in spare cash. Of that amount, $12.1 million was accumulated just in fiscal year 2020.

MEA’s most recent LM-2 reports are available here: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016

Union officials are also required to file reports with the Dept. of Labor disclosing potential conflicts of interest related to MEA’s business dealings. MEA president Paula Herbart has regularly filed LM-30 reports disclosing that she serves on the board of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which provides health services to MEA members. In 2020, Herbart received $135,000 in compensation for her position on the BCBS board, in addition to the $247,000 she received as president of MEA.

A portion of the dues paid by MEA members goes to support the National Education Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C.

National Education Association

NEA collected $375 million from its members in fiscal year 2020.

  • $50.7 million was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
  • $120 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations. This includes $150,000 donated to the Advancement Project, an organization that actively supports efforts to “wholly dismantle” the police and prison system. NEA also gave $17 million to the Strategic Victory Fund, a super PAC that has financially supported Planned Parenthood.
  • $9.2 million was spent on travel for union staff and hotel venues, including $596,000 for a conference at a four-star Hilton hotel in Orlando, FL.
  • $10 million was spent on attorneys and private consultants.
  • $431,300 was spent on food and catering.

NEA paid 693 officers and employees in 2020, 403 of whom were paid six figures. NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia received $416,568.

NEA’s most recent LM-2 reports are available here: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.