December 18, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Detroit, MI – A Michigan appeals court on Dec. 13 invalidated a 10-year contract teachers in a Detroit suburb signed the month before the state’s union-shop ban went into effect in March 2013, saying that it was intended to “subvert and undermine” the law’s intent.
The 2-1 decision upheld a ruling by the state Employment Relations Commission that the agreement between the city of Taylor and the Taylor Federation of Teachers “essentially coerced public employees to financially support a labor organization… in contravention of a state law protecting their rights not to do so.” It also rejected the union’s argument that the law unconstitutionally impaired their contract, on the grounds that it hadn’t yet gone into effect when the contract was signed. In dissent, Judge Donald Owens noted that the law specifically exempted contracts that were already in place before it went into effect. The decision could affect Wayne State University in Detroit and the more than 100 school districts that signed similarly long contracts, hoping to maintain the union shop until they expired. The union is considering appealing to the state Supreme Court. Read more