Source: Sherman Publications

Remove Images

Right-to-work lawsuit could include local

by Phil Custodio

October 30, 2013

A lawsuit against the Michigan Education Association could include a Clarkston paraeducator.

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation's lawsuit against the union's "August Window" policy employees can opt out of membership only in August says the policy is outdated and limits members' First Amendment rights to one month.

Paraeducator Amy Breza, a client of the foundation, is considering becoming a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit.

"Amy is not currently eligible for right-to-work, but she wants to explore her First Amendment rights to become an agency-fee payer immediately," said foundation Director Patrick J. Wright.

Brooke Davis, president of Clarkston Education Association, said the August window is needed to allow the unions to conduct normal business.

"It's like anything else, a cell phone contract, a gym membership, there's a penalty for leaving early," he said. "It's the same with us. If you don't want to belong to the union, tell us when school starts."

The foundation also said agency fee requirements unions charge a fee for services to employees who opt out of membership are unfair. Clarkston School Board approved its agency-fee agreement last March.

Lead plaintiff in the federal lawsuit is Miriam Chanski, kindergarten teacher for Coopersville Area Public Schools. Breza is considering joining Chanski's suit or filing a new unfair labor practice charge, Wright said.